Retired Memphis Police Major Ron Fittes opened his campaign for Shelby County Commission Tuesday, Jan. 21, by telling a group of more than 80 supporters in Germantown that the commission will be his full-time job if elected.
“I’m going to dedicate all of my time to a part-time position,” Fittes said. “This county needs somebody that doesn’t have special interest groups pulling at them. We need to move the county forward. We need to have positive things that come out of local government, not negative, in order to attract businesses to our community. ... We have divisiveness. We need cohesiveness.”
Fittes, who ran for the commission four years ago, is running for the new District 4 seat in the May 6 Republican primary. With the 2014 county elections, the commission converts to a set of 13 single-member districts.
With a Feb. 20 filing deadline for candidates, the Republican primary at this point is a match-up between Fittes and former Germantown Alderman Mark Billingsley.
Billingsley was appointed this month to the seat on the commission vacated by the resignation of Wyatt Bunker, who became the mayor of Lakeland this month. He was appointed to the existing District 4, which is much larger than the smaller districts to come with the elections.
The winner of the primary advances to the August county general election.
So far, Jacqueline D. Jackson has a petition pulled for the Democratic primary in the new District 4, which is also on the May ballot.
“I will run just as hard between now and May as I will between May and August,” Fittes said. “I believe in being out there. I’m going to run a positive campaign.”
The commission will have new faces holding at least seven of the 13 seats on the body once all of the votes are counted and certified after the August county general election.
Six of the current commissioners are term limited from seeking a new four-year term of office. Commissioner Chris Thomas is not seeking re-election after accepting a job as city manager of Lakeland.