State Senator Lee Harris has set his sights on becoming Shelby County mayor. It’s a post that’s been held by Republicans for a long time, thanks to the less Democrat leaning suburbs.
Will he succeed against Republican David Lenoir?
I hope not. Lee is not just a liberal, but a progressive and he believes he has a good shot at defeating Lenoir.
Lee says he has “a movement” behind him. He claims,
During the Primary Election, some parts of the business establishment lined up to support my Republican opponents. As a result, we didn’t even have one-sixth of the campaign budget of my opponents.
Nevertheless, when the votes were counted during the Primary Election, this campaign earned more votes than all the Republican candidates combined. That wasn’t supposed to happen. But, it is happening. And it’s happening because of you.
Because of you, we won all our voting precincts in the May Democratic primary. That’s right. In Shelby County, there are nearly 200 neighborhoods. We won every single one of them during the Democratic Primary Election. Because of you nearly 46,000 voters participated in the Democratic May 2018 Primary Election. It was the highest Democratic turnout in a May Primary in 16 years!
And Lee boasts, “We are doing the work. We are having significant success. Just last week, most of the members of the Shelby County Commission came out to officially support and endorse this campaign. Our campaign office is always buzzing. Our yard signs and t-shirts are flying out the door. Our television ad is on the airwaves. We are making tremendous progress, because of the energy and enthusiasm of the grassroots.”
Lee’s slogan is “A New Era.” He’s not kidding about his activism. For example,
What the City of Memphis did by removing the confederate monuments was lawful, according to those who have looked closely at the matter.
Nevertheless, just recently, a few hardline Republicans in the General Assembly took action to cut $250,000 in funding from Memphis. They convinced the Tennessee General Assembly to strip the funding from Memphis as punishment.
The action by the Tennessee General Assembly to cut funding from the City of Memphis was wrong. That may be obvious to you. But, so far, I am the only candidate who has stood up and said so. Worse yet, some of the other candidates have publicly said they support Nashville politicians taking money from Memphis. That’s right. Some of the other candidates have said they support taking money from Memphis because Memphis decided to (lawfully) take down confederate monuments.
I hope the other candidates change their minds. This is a big deal.
We should all be worried by this action by Republicans in control of the Tennessee House, as this sets up a dangerous precedent.
It means that local elected officials can be punished for (lawful) decisions that end up rubbing powerful elected officials in Nashville the wrong way.
It means we are at a point in our state, when our lopsided Republican government has decided it will openly punish political opponents and use government force to do it.
It starts with a $250,000 financial penalty against the City. But, it might not be long before we have financial penalties against Memphis elected officials. Right after, someone will suggest Memphis elected officials should be forced from office, or even jailed, for their decisions or views.
We are headed for disaster if we don’t do something to make sure there is more balanced debate in our government. Right now, one party controls all branches of our state government and almost every county office.
We can change that this year. We can bring balanced debate to these important issues. We can make sure that someone is elected into office who won’t let Nashville push us around.
He forgets to mention that the people in Nashville were fairly elected to reflect the views of most of the state. Lee also skips over the fact that some of these elected officials he worries will be “forced from office, or even jailed,” have not followed the laws the state requires. He doesn’t mention that the citizens of Memphis were never even allowed to vote on this issue. The removal was imposed and the park that belonged to the citizens was sold for a paltry sum to the mayor’s buddies.
Like other progressives, Lee talks about moving forward: “We have to spread the word about how to move Shelby County, the largest county in Tennessee, forward. We can do it. More than 200,000 people in our county of 950,000 live in poverty. I am laser-focused on that problem…our community has been one of the poorest in the US for a long time. And in the last 50 years, based on statistics, like employment and income, things are getting much worse. This campaign is built on the belief that people are ready to see their leaders laser-focus on that.
“We can work to reduce the energy expense associated with Shelby County Government facilities, equipment, and vehicles. We can replace florescent and halogen bulbs with LED ones. We can install solar arrays where appropriate and upgrade HVAC where financially feasible. We can make sure that Shelby Farms, one of the largest urban parks in the country, is open and accessible for generations to come. We can do even more.”
Doesn’t that sound like more taxes to you? Who has been in charge of this city for the past 25 years? Democrats. That means they are responsible for our failures, doesn’t it? Lee, a Democrat, would just expand these problems to the better functioning parts of Shelby County.
Lee has been asking supporters to send in $20.18. He’s had fund raisers like a recent “Shades of Blue” party where guests can pay “$50 – Baby Blue, $150 – Navy Blue and $300 – Royal Blue.” They left out Smurf Blue. But it looks like that blue wave might be fading as he recently wrote of fears that “we could lose local county races and it means we are in deep trouble when it comes to the Tennessee governor and US Senate races later this year. Let that sink in for minute: If Democrats can’t win in Shelby County, it means that we could lose a US Senate seat, the seat that would tip the balance in the US Senate to Democrats.”
Maybe Democrats will end up black and blue after the November election. We can only hope.
Meantime, this August election should be the first part of the red wave that extends to November. Republicans need to make sure they go to the polls and bring everyone they know with them.