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VOL. 130 | NO. 65 | Friday, April 3, 2015

Lowery Won’t Seek Re-Election

By Bill Dries

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Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery, the longest-serving member of the council, won’t be running for re-election on the October ballot.

“After a while you feel like you’ve done all that you can do in a specific position.”

–Myron Lowery
Memphis City Council

Lowery announced Thursday, April 2, what he has said for several years he might do.

“I do however plan to remain involved in this community to serve it in whatever way that I can,” Lowery said. He also indicated he might run for elected office at some point in the future.

In the past, Lowery has said his son, Mickell, would likely be a candidate for the Super District 8 council seat Lowery holds. But he added Thursday that such a decision would be made later.

“This is my day,” he said. “The voters in the 8th District will have the right to choose their next leader. Like any father, yes, if my son runs I will be supporting him. But this seat belongs to the voters for them to make that decision.”

Lowery was elected to the council in 1991, and his decision reflects the same experience other council members over the years have expressed when they made the decision to leave after shorter stays at City Hall.

“After a while you feel like you’ve done all that you can do in a specific position,” he said. “I’ve served with 40 members of the Memphis City Council throughout the years, elected chairman five times. I don’t know what else I can do in this position.”

Lowery also served as interim Memphis mayor in late 2009 following the resignation of Willie Herenton. He ran in the special election that followed but lost to current mayor A C Wharton Jr.

In addition to Lowery, council members Jim Strickland, Shea Flinn and Harold Collins have said they will not be running for re-election in 2015. Strickland is giving up his council seat to run for mayor, and Collins is exploring a possible run.

All three were elected to the council in 2007 during the largest turnover of council seats in the history of the mayor-council form of government, with nine new council members.

Lowery was one of the four members re-elected that year.

“The new freshmen several years ago were unsure of what to do and how to do it,” Lowery said Thursday of the experience. “My leaving will build in a natural segment of staggered terms for the years to come.”

As chairman of the 2010 commission that drafted changes to the city charter, Lowery favored a provision that would have staggered the terms, with elections for six of the 13 council members in one election cycle and the other seven in a cycle two years later.

The provision was rejected by voters in the referendum that followed.

Most of the turnover on the council since the mayor-council form of government began in 1968 has been the result of incumbents not seeking re-election.

“Ideally we should have two or three additional members of the council either defeated or not running,” Lowery said.

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751