Herenton opens up about congressional aspirations - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Herenton opens up about congressional aspirations

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton
Rep. Steve Cohen Rep. Steve Cohen

By Nick Kenney - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton broke his silence Friday about a possible run for Congress.

In a guest column in Friday's edition of the Commercial Appeal, Herenton wrote he's not planning to seek a 6th term as mayor.  Instead, he wants the chance to shape public policy on a national level.

Speaking to reporters Friday, Herenton said any potential move from City Hall to Washington wouldn't be about power, but about service.

"What I can bring to bare is a connection between urban policy and urban reality," he said.

Congressman Steve Cohen, who currently represents the Ninth Congressional District, says his service is unquestionable.

"I've got an 'A' record down the line. I work hard, and I'm doing my job, and I plan to continue doing my job," Cohen said.

Herenton said the prospect of going to Washington is exciting.

"The energy level, the passion, the enthusiasm to make sense of a lot of things taking place in Washington kind of excites me," Herenton said.

But Cohen said he's been excited about it all along, and has plenty of experience.

"Knowing how the legislative process works and working with other legislators who have honed their skills as you have to represent your community," he said.

Herenton acknowledged his experience isn't as a legislator, but said he wants to connect urban policy with urban reality on a national level.

"Being a mayor in an urban city has much more political clout than going to Washington, so when people describe me as power hungry, they don't know me. Mine is all about service," Herenton said.

In Herenton's newspaper column, he said he did not support Cohen in the first place - rather a bigger idea.

"I've always run a positive campaign," Cohen said. "And so, I don't think he was necessarily for some higher ideal. I think it was, 'Harold Ford has been my rival. I don't want Harold Ford to win.'"

"I don't have a vendetta against Steve Cohen or anyone for that matter," Herenton told reporters Friday. "It's just about at this point in my life and all my experiences, what can I do to elevate Memphis more?'"

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