VOL. 133 | NO. 69 | Thursday, April 5, 2018
Herenton Says He Wants to Be Mayor Again
By Bill Dries
Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton says he intends to run for mayor again in the 2019 city elections.
Herenton told an audience at LeMoyne-Owen College Thursday, April 5, that he wants to return to offer leadership to “a young emerging group” of leaders.
“I’m going back to City Hall,” said Herenton, who was elected to five terms as mayor and served from January 1992 until he retired during his fifth term on July 31, 2009. “We have some plans and I’m not speaking disparagingly of the present leadership – not at all. I’m simply saying where we are today … and the plight of the young is going to require a very different kind of leader.”
Herenton was the longest serving mayor in the city’s history. After leaving the mayor’s office, he ran in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House, unsuccessfully challenging incumbent Democrat Steve Cohen. He has also been involved in a set of charter schools and has been advocating for a charter school for juvenile offenders in Shelby County.
Since he last ran for mayor in 2007, the city charter has been amended by referendum setting term limits of no more than two consecutive terms of office for Memphis City Council members and the Memphis mayor.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is expected to seek re-election in 2019.
Herenton acknowledged that some of the new generation of political activists have complained that the city hasn’t grown economically despite having a black mayor and other black elected leaders.
“None of us are proud of the fact that the Memphis metropolitan area … is designated as having the highest poverty rate,” he said. “Even today with black leadership, the challenges we face, they are very deep. Generational poverty … we have some social problems here that are long term.”