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Memphis Councilman Worth Morgan talks bid for Shelby County mayor

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:56 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - In roughly six and a half months, voters in Shelby County will head to the polls to cast ballots in a primary election for county mayor.

Action News 5 is hearing from the first candidate to officially announce he’s running for the job.

Potential Republican nominee and Memphis City councilman, Worth Morgan, says citizens of the county deserve better when it comes to issues like crime, education, and economic development.

“We have to begin to hold the government accountable every day that goes by where the government is not accountable for these major issues,” Morgan said.

When it comes to tackling crime, Morgan says as county mayor, he’ll bring knowledge of policing and better relationships with the state government.

“It can’t be done alone and it’s never meant to be, but I think a county mayor is better suited to address crime and take the issue head-on than just about any individual person in Shelby County,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s toughest criticism of the current mayor, Lee Harris, is the COVID-19 vaccine rollout earlier this year.

A state report identified multiple contributing factors resulting in vaccine mismanagement by the county.

“I think this has been one of the most consequential county mayoral terms since I’ve been alive in the absolute disaster that the vaccine distribution was and the communication from the county government,” said Morgan said. “I think there’s been a void of leadership and in that void, other entities, other government bodies tried to step in. But that is truly the responsibility of the county mayor when we talk about the county health department.”

Harris hasn’t officially announced his plans but is expected to seek re-election.

Last month, Ken Moody, an advisor to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, announced he’s exploring a run for county mayor.

Moody also hit Harris on the vaccine rollout.

Action News 5 political analyst, Mike Nelson, says it could play a major role in the campaign.

“If the election were taking place now, then the pandemic and how different officials have handled the pandemic would clearly be a major issue. It may still be a major issue next summer when the election takes place, but a whole lot will happen between now and then,” Nelson said.

The Shelby County primary election is set for May 3, 2022.

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