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Lenoir Profiled

David Lenoir is the latest Shelby GOP member to be highlighted at the new website citygop.org. Here’s what they say:

CityGOP connects with another Memphis Republican and an elected official, Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir. Trustee Lenoir is a lifelong Memphian who had a successful 20-year career in the financial services industry before being elected in 2010. During his four years in office, Mr. Lenoir has improved operational efficiency, focused on the collection of delinquent taxes, and overseen aggressive efforts to stabilize the County tax base.

When asked why he is a Republican, Trustee Lenoir explains that the Republican Party most closely aligns with his values in terms of personal and financial responsibility and stewardship, especially as it relates to his role as Trustee.

Trustee Lenoir decided to run for office as a way to give back to the community where he grew up. He observed communities in Memphis with poverty rates around 25-30% and knew one of the ways out of poverty is financial education. While children are taught for 12 years to learn the skills that ultimately could lead to a job, rarely are they taught how to handle that first paycheck.

He works both in his capacity as Shelby County Trustee and on a board of a non-profit to stress the importance of saving and support programs on financial literacy.

Trustee Lenoir attributes winning his campaign to “handshakes and shoe leather.” “Go out and try to engage many people regardless of race, religion, etc.” Trustee Lenoir subscribes to the adage that people don’t care what you know, until they know you care. “I genuinely care about the community,” he says. “The residents can tell, and it matters.” He advises would-be candidates to learn the needs and concerns of their community.

His experience has been that residents are less concerned about party and more concerned about their elected officials understanding the issues and laying out solutions that improves the residents’ conditions. For example, he recommends fellow Republicans to focus on “people-centric policies.” Trustee Lenoir suggests funding both education programs and skilled labor programs and developing programs to fight poverty and create jobs.

Trustee Lenoir is encouraged by the slate of elected officials in Memphis and Shelby County. He thinks they do a good job of getting out into the community, building relationships, and leading with integrity. He is encouraged about the future of the GOP in Memphis.

Trustee Lenoir’s policy priorities include financial education, financial access, and reducing blight. In terms of education, he rolled out a number of initiatives that relate to helping delinquent property tax payers “get caught up.” The root cause of not making tax payments is not understanding how to manage money. Accordingly, they offer financial education classes that teach personal finance and provide a basic spending plan.

While Trustee Lenoir’s office oversees programs that teach residents how to manage money, unfortunately, many of them don’t have access to banks and credit unions. So, he leveraged his role as the County’s banker to expand access of these financial institutions to more residents in need. “In three years, we have had 6,500 low and moderate income residents open a checking and/or savings account,” he explains. That is the beginning to saving, investing, and creating financial stability for people in need.

Thirdly, Trustee Lenoir has worked to reduce the number of vacant and abandoned properties. The issue is both one of crime as well as devaluation of property values. Just as financial education and access can stabilize residents in need, reducing blight can stabilize communities in need.