Four Democrats are vying for the nomination to represent Shelby County Commission District 12, a district that includes parts of Hickory Hill as well as parts of southeastern Shelby County south of Germantown.
The winner of the Democratic primary is expected to face Clyde Jamison, an independent candidate, in the general election.
The county primary is on May 3, with early voting from April 13 to April 28. General elections are held on August 4.
James Q. Bacchus is a retired educator with over 45 years of experience. He retired last year from what is now Memphis-Shelby County Schools, where he last worked as Principal of Hamilton High School and before that he was principal of the school. Whitehaven secondary. Today, he is a consultant to the school district and accompanies new principals. This is the first time he is running for elected office. Much of the position is related to public education, Bacchus said, since the county funds the public school system.
“I wanted to continue to serve the community and specifically my own community that I live in. I live in District 12, have been there for 25 years,” Bacchus said. “I bring years of experience to be able to work collaboratively and be able to achieve common goals. I think that’s something I can bring that would be needed and I think I would do a great job. The other thing is I’ve always worked from results based accountability, the results you’re looking for and also the return on results I know something around funding would be and then the other thing would be l “equity around resources and access to resources. That’s one of the lenses that I bring in and third would be economic impact. I’ll support our growth. I’ll maintain our tax base.”
Reginald S. Boyce is Senior Pastor of Riverside Missionary Baptist Church and Moderator of the Whitehaven District Association. He is also a seminary teacher at the Tennessee School of Religion and a member of the Memphis Inner City Rugby Board of Directors.
“As preachers and pastors, we have to expand the pulpit and enter the marketplace, but I also believe in being a voice, being a servant,” Boyce said. “We need fair representation. We need a seat at the table, and we bring other people to the table so that when important decisions are discussed in the halls, we have the representation that we need to speak on behalf of (others).”
Erika Sugarmon is a teacher and activist who has taught at White Station High School for 23 years. She is known in Shelby County, particularly for her advocacy of ranked ballots and hand-marked paper ballots, and comes from a family of civil rights leaders. In 2019, she sought election to the Memphis City Council, losing to Chase Carlisle. Part of his goal in running again, this time for county office, is to ensure the county receives its fair share of state funding, including resources to make the community safer, fund completely its education system and take care of the infrastructure, she says.
“I’m going to run for office and I’m going to make an impact because I have an agenda when it comes to the things I want to see happen and I’m going to advocate,” she said. “I’ve reached across West Tennessee to speak to various elected mayors, aldermen, etc. because we continue to be targeted by all of these awful hateful state bills and it’s time we stood up. That’s something I want to stand up for is that we step up and fight back the bottom line is to hold the state accountable and then we can do the things that we need to do here in county Shelby.
David P. Walker has owned a barber shop in the district since 1999. About four years ago, he began working with a barber program in the school system, first at Melrose High School and now at Ridgeway High School. He has never held elected office before, but ran for mayor of Memphis in 2015 and 2019. Walker said he wanted to run for the commission to watch over his community.
“I’m part of this community and have been for 22 years,” Walker said. “I don’t have to shake hands because I know what we need. When I opened in 1999, the Hickory Hill area was a thriving area, with everything you needed from Circuit City to Barnes and Noble to Sports Authority.. It just lost so many businesses. You combine that with the article 8 houses within that community and it really takes a devastating economic hit. never really recovered. All businesses just moved east.
Katherine Burgess covers county government and religion. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 901-529-2799 or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.