MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Former mayor of Memphis Willie Herenton is throwing his hat into the ring — again.
Herenton has announced his candidacy for Memphis mayor on Monday through his Facebook page. In his announcement video, 82-year-old Herenton said Memphis is in "a crisis" and "needs a proven leader."
"If I'm your choice once again, I pledge to serve this city faithfully and to make sure that Memphis is a city that we all love," Herenton said. "I know what you want. You want a safe city. You want a clean city. You want an efficient city, and I will never forget 'we are 901'."
Herenton was the first Black mayor of Memphis, serving in the '90s and early 2000s.
"It saddens me to see my hometown in a critical crisis," Herenton said. "In fact, it is quite embarassing. I know for serving as mayor for 17 and a half years."
Herenton joins a crowded field. City Councilman Frank Colvett, Jr. announced his candidacy for Memphis mayor Feb. 2. Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) Chairwoman Michelle McKissack officially announced her bid in January. Democratic State Rep. Karen Camper announced her candidacy in November.
Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner announced his candidacy in October. Downtown Memphis Commission CEO Paul Young and Memphis NAACP President Van Turner were the first public entrants to officially announce their candidacy in September.
Herenton said of the announced candidates, he doesn't think "a single one" is prepared to give Memphis "the type of leadership it needs."
"This is not the time for on-the-job leadership," Herenton said. "We need proven leadership.
The former mayor also discussed his experience as school superintendent before his first mayoral run.
"If you had asked me year ago 'would I be making this announcement today' I probably would have said no," Herenton said. "I love Memphis. I'm a life-long Memphian, and as you all know, my public service career spans over 30 years in Memphis."