One asks for the chance to keep momentum going.
Another asks for a chance to pick up where he left off years ago.
And, still another, well, that sentence can’t quite be completed, yet.
The election of the next Memphis mayor is still several months away. The buzz, however, is picking up for the Oct. 3 showdown
The announced heavyweight contenders are incumbent Jim Strickland and Dr. Willie W. Herenton, the longest-serving mayor in Memphis’ 200-year history. Activist Pamela Moses has been actively pitching her candidacy online.
Perhaps the biggest X factor is whether new Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer (District 7) will get into the race. She is not saying – and notably not denying – whether the considerable conservation about her getting into the mayoral contest has any foundation.
African-American women in Shelby County elevated their presence as elected officials during the election last September, garnering national attention. That included the high-profile Sawyer, the most visible figure in the #takemdown901 movement that advocated vigorously for the removal of Confederate-era monuments from parks then owned by the city.
Memphis is not operating in a vacuum regarding African-American pushing forward regarding elected office. Across the country, African-American women have been making advances. It’s particularly noteworthy, that two African-American women are headed for a runoff in the Chicago mayor’s race and that brings into the picture an election that will make history there.
Regardless of who is in the Memphis mayoral race, Memphis residents have plenty of key questions they want answered by any – and all – who wish to serve as the mayor that takes the city beyond the bicentennial.
From an informal TSD survey, here some of the key questions that registered votes indicated they want answered:
• How will he/she address public safety?
• What is his/her specific economic development, training, jobs, incentives and procurement goals?
• What will be the structure and diversity of the leadership team?
• What is your strategy for crime reduction in our city?
• What is your strategy for increasing economic development and or living wage job opportunities for African Americans?
• What plans do you have to reduce the recidivism rate for African Americans leaving prison and coming back home to Memphis with no job skills?
• What’s your strategy to get more revenue from the state of Tennessee with a majority Republican legislature that has a problem with West Tennessee?
• What’s the plan for dealing with poverty?
• What’s your plan for bringing new business and new economic development to city.
• Will you work in collaboration to create equability in schools for all children? If so, how?
• Will you work in partnership with the school board to ensure failing schools aren’t being taken over by the state?
• What are your plans to lower the poverty rate in a reasonable amount of time?
• Will you divest from the prison industrial complex and invest in K-12 public education?
• What are the economic plans for inclusion of African Americans?
• What are the plans for Memphis to invest PK ventures in communities?
• Will you make community policing a priority?
• All reliable indicators suggest our public schools are not preparing Memphis’ children for productive citizenry. How will you address this as mayor?
• Will you have the courage to take stands against Memphis’ corporate community, if it means lifting the socioeconomic status of the poorest Memphians, and if so how?
• What is your plan to invest in people as opposed to projects?
• What are your plans for MATA?
• What is your stance relative to job readiness for our less prepared and educated citizens?
• Would you work in partnership with employers to develop alternative vocational training that is not connected to SCS?