Tuesday, May 06, 2014

How I Am Voting In The Primary, or I Get In Trouble Yet Again


Well, this is the first time that I have A) been a blogger and B) served on the SCDP ExecCom.  Because of the latter fact, allow me to say that I will faithfully support all Democratic nominees, whether I voted for them or not, and let me swear on the souls of my grandchildren, that I will not break the peace we've made here today.

Oops, wrong film.  I digress.

County Mayor - Deidre Malone, for all the reasons, go here.

County Commission, District 10 - Reginald Milton, for all the reasons, go here.

Assessor - Cheyenne Johnson is an 8-year incumbent with an impeccable record of service to this county, and I see no reason to vote for anyone else.

Trustee - Derrick Bennett ran four years ago as an Independent for this office, he is running this year as a Democrat.  He gets the edge here over Latroy Williams.

Sheriff - Bennie Cobb is unopposed in the primary and will face the incumbent Bill Oldham in August.

Circuit Court Clerk - I have no idea who Rhonda Banks is.  I have known Del Gill for more years than I can count.  Del was the head of the civil division of the General Sessions Court Clerk under Otis Jackson.  Your call, people.

Criminal Court Clerk - Without question, the best set of candidates in any of these races, and it was VERY difficult for me to choose.  I have a very high regard for all of the candidates, who have well-thought out ideas for how the office, and the whole criminal court system, should be run.  At least two of the candidates, Wanda Halbert (at-large MCS Board before becoming District 4 Councilor) and Thomas Long (19-year incumbent City Court Clerk) understand how to win citywide, because they have done it.  Long's record of service has been exemplary.

However, the one person in the race who has been inside the system has the best chance, to me, of fixing it, and that's Michael R. McCusker.  I believe Long or Halbert could win countywide, but I think McCusker gives us the best chance to win, so I am voting for him.

Juvenile Court Clerk - There is no question that without the relentless efforts of County Commissioner Henri Brooks, the problems of Juvenile Court would never have been brought to light and JC would never have been forced to address its' internal problems.  We all owe her a deep gratitude for her efforts.

That said, it's one thing to bring attention to problems; it's quite another to implement solutions.  That requires, in my mind, a different skill-set, one of consensus-building and coordination with all the parties involved.  Commissioner Brooks has always been a lightning rod whether on the Commission or in the State House, not always justifiably, but enough that it gives pause as to whether she is the person who can effect the necessary changes.

For that reason, I am voting for Ken Moody, a veteran of city government who can work with all the necessary parties to help move Juvenile Court in the direction it needs to serve ALL segments of the community.

Probate Court Clerk - Of all the candidates in this race, only ONE is an attorney, which I find to be odd.  Regina Beale is making her first race at the age of 25, let's hope it's not the last, as we need more young people involved.  However, at the end of the day, there are only two candidates who have a real chance of unseating incumbent Paul Boyd.

Heidi Kuhn is a 15-year veteran of County Government and knows her way around it, and presents a good campaign.  Aaron Hall, however, is a probate attorney and understands the office backwards and forwards.  He can run this office because, after hearing him speak, you know that he knows what to do and presents an air of confidence that he can hit the ground running and make the changes necessary to run it better.  I am voting for Aaron Hall.

County ClerkJohn H. Freeman has been my friend for over 30 years.  He is a veteran of County government and has worked closely with both Mayor Wharton and Mayor Luttrell and knows how to get things done.  John has ideas for expanding the Clerk's office to bringing it closer to the public it serves, making government work for YOU.  He has the experience, the knowhow, and the ability to make the County Clerk's office run more effectively than ever before and he will be outstanding, and I urge you to vote for John H. Freeman.

Register of Deeds  - Stephen Christian is a nice young man who is earnest and sincere, and I hope that he continues to be involved in Democratic politics,  That said, I see no reason to deny Coleman Thompson a third nomination to attempt to unseat the veteran Tom Leatherwood.  I have worked with Coleman on Democratic races for years and know that he has the experience to make this run.

Now, here are a few recommendations for other County Commission races:

District 6 - Willie Brooks

District 7 - incumbent Melvin Burgess

District 8 - Walter Bailey's last race may well be his toughest, against former City Councilor Berlin Boyd and David Vinciarelli.  Boyd is going hammer-and-tong after the veteran Bailey, who has said that if he is re-elected, he will not run in 2018.  In what promises to be a Commission with a lot of new faces, Bailey's institutional memory will be necessary for the Democrats on the Commission, so my choice is Walter Bailey.

District 9 -  Commissioner Justin Ford, the most inconsistent of the incumbent Democrats, faces the fight of his life after having South Memphis taken from him in redistricting.  While you can never count out anyone named Ford in a Democratic primary, he is fighting former MCS Board member Patrice Robinson and Memphis Education Association President Keith Williams on their home turf in Whitehaven.  Ford has attacked Robinson for her vote to surrender the MCS Charter, one that I personally believe was necessary to prevent its defunding.

Ford's voting record on Democratic issues has been unreliable, and he is too ambitious by half, floating a possible run for Congress in two years.  I think his days on the Commission should end, and I support Patrice Robinson for this seat.

District 11 - No recommendation.

District 12 -  I eagerly endorse attorney and former SCDP Chair Van Turner for this office.  I know him and support him and believe he will be a tireless worker for the people of this district.

As always, your mileage may vary, so do your research as I did and see what you think.  Early voting is going on downtown now, with the satellites opening on Friday and running through 7 PM on May 1.

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