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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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Performance is the plank anchoring Wharton’s bid for another term

With supporters awaiting his arrival Wednesday afternoon at the Shelby County Election Commission, Mayor A C Wharton Jr. made his way up the steps leading to the floor where he would turn left and head for the window where one files a petition to officially seek an elected office. He is familiar with the route.

Moments after submitting his paperwork and affixing his signature, the incumbent eased out into the hallway, positioning himself among those assembled to reflect their commitment to see him win four more years. Then he met the press.

Thanking his backers for continued support, Wharton said, “We will run on our record. We will run on the positives. We’ve never done negative campaign as everybody in this room knows.ver done negative campaign as everybody in this room knows.

His positive-based campaign, he said, will be based on providing 10,000 jobs, hiring police officers, bringing in technology – body cameras for the protection of the officers and the public, getting passed the “grueling nightmare” of not having paid the schools, getting the longstanding litigation over Beale St. settled.

“So many things that have been dragging on for years ar“So many things that have been dragging on for years arw history,” he said.

Under his administration the city has been very aggressive in fighting blight, he said, also noting that he filed the lawsuit against the banks that brought in millions of dollars to foster homeownership.

“Our city is now on the national radar for so many positive things. Sure, do we have challenges? Absolutely yes, but at the same time I will show you a whole lot of people out in the field working to meet those challenges.”

Asked what he thought voters would make their choice upon, Wharton said, stepping back and reflecting people would recognize that he followed through on his commitments to address items and issues upon which the residents had voiced their concerns. That includes crime, with the numbers showing a move in the right direction, he said, with more moves to come to address what still is a big issue.

“I think they will look back at what has been done, look at the challenges that lie ahead and see the only person who developed a plan to deal with poverty, which is the root cause of so many challenges that we face,” he said.

The campaign is about getting the message out, he said.

How many candidates, he asked, can point to their platforms and say to the voters, “you ought to believe me going forward because here is what I’ve done in the past.”

Pointing out that he was not the mayor when troubling issues such as stopping school funding and pension problems took root, Wharton said he never used that as an excuse for not taking action.

“I hit it head on. It would have been easy to back away from all those things. I didn’t do that. I think that is what is going to make the difference here. Everybody can promise, but nobody can point to their past performance.”

Wharton said he anticipates that debates will “turn into firing squads” with all shooting at him.

“Let’s have our debates; everybody shoot at me. I am ready to go,” he said. “Bring it on!”

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