Memphis mayor candidate list could grow by 2 in the coming weeks

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Within a 24-hour period, two more names emerged as potential candidates for the race of Memphis mayor.

Current Board Chair for Memphis Shelby County Schools (MSCS) Michelle McKissack, who was re-elected to the school board in August, officially announced the launch of her exploratory committee on Tuesday afternoon, looking at the viability of a run for mayor.

Though it’s not an official campaign launch, McKissack was vocal on what her priorities would be if elected to the Mayor’s Office.

“Let’s have a conversation about afterschool programs, summer camps and summer jobs, and what it will take to make sure that these opportunities are communicated to the children who need them the most,” McKissack said, speaking on helping prevent the surge in juvenile crime in Memphis.

Along with McKissack, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner, also fresh off re-election, is considering a mayoral run.

Action News 5 confirmed on Tuesday that Bonner is still in the consideration phase and won’t be making an announcement on the matter until October.

If officially announced, both McKissack and Bonner would campaign against already-announced candidates former Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner and current President and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) Paul Young.

Young and Turner both spoke with Action News 5 on Tuesday, reacting to the news of the potential new names on the campaign trail.

“There are so many elected officials and ones who serve and love Memphis and want the best for Memphis, so I’m not surprised to see the names and the interest,” Turner said.

“The Mayor’s Office is a coveted role, and it’s an important role for our city,” said Young. “I know there are going to be a number of people that are exploring what they can give to our city.”

Turner feels he has expertise in various roles that make him a perfect fit for the role of Memphis’ leader.

“I think I am the candidate that combines public safety, education, and economic development into one,” Turner said confidently. “Whether it’s been my law experience, my experience on the Board of Commissioners, my experience working as a school board attorney, and with working with Memphis Greenspace and the NAACP, I think I combine it all.”

Young, on the other hand, feels his decades-long experience in economic development could lead to subsequent job growth and overall growth of the city, subsequently bringing a natural decline in crime.

“I literally went to school to learn how to build great cities as a city planner, and I’ve worked in city government,” Young said. “My goal right now is to make sure that I get my name out there, that I show up to events, and that people know who Paul Young is.”

Young, Turner, and McKissack believe their expertise and passion for the city will set them apart from the pack, but all three can agree that public safety is the number one issue in the Bluff City.

“The whole country has seen a spike in violence and crime, and I believe Memphis could be the city to get it right,” said Young.

“I want a properly funded police force, with a high degree of accountability, transparency, and community trust,” McKissack said at Tuesday’s press conference.

“It’s not just putting more officers on the ground. We’ve got to go back to what we can do to prevent the crime from occurring in the first place,” said Van Turner. “That’s fully funding education. That’s community policing. That’s creating jobs.”

With still well over a year until a new mayor is elected, both Turner and Young say expect to see more names enter the race and are looking forward to the campaign trail ahead.

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