Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer talks about the campaign for Memphis’ top job

Local Elections

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – We continue with our preview of the Memphis Municipal Elections by talking with Shelby County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Tami Sawyer.

It is election time. We have talked with two of the big three candidates for Mayor of Memphis. Now, we are talking with candidate Tami Sawyer.

Tami Sawyer does not act like a newbie in politics. Especially when it comes to her feelings that the current Mayor isn’t doing enough.

“The wheel is rolling,” says Sawyer, “… but it is rolling so slow we’re never going to catch up.”

Tami Sawyer just celebrated her first year as Shelby County Commissioner. Now she wants to be Mayor, just like the guys named Strickland and Herenton.

When asked if she thought they took her candidacy seriously, she said, “I think I raised a significant amount of money. I have solid support. I think it’s their strategy not to take me seriously. I think it’s their strategy to be dismissive, to be misogynistic with me. But what’s more important to me are the voters.”

Politics in Memphis is often seen as a man’s world, and it is tough to break that glass ceiling for a woman. Former City Councilwoman Carol Chumney said that herself when she ran for Mayor more than a decade ago.

For Sawyer, her entire campaign revolves around telling voters they can’t and shouldn’t wait for change anymore.

“We still are a city where the majority of our kids are born below the line of poverty,” she says. “We still are a city with 40% of people who work every day make below a living wage. I think we need to focus on those issues. Not say it takes time and their time will come.”

She wants to see a youth opportunity fund established for educational needs.

Sawyer says roads are being paved, but not in the poorer neighborhoods.

She is hoping her message is accepted by voters, as early voting in the Memphis Municipal Elections begins Friday, September 13th.

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