County mayoral candidates make their case to Commissioners - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

County mayoral candidates make their case to Shelby County Commissioners

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - There were several startling moments Wednesday during a Shelby County Commission meeting to interview the candidates who hope to be the next mayor of Shelby County.

Four Shelby County interim mayoral candidates explained why they deserved the post.  During the meeting, one candidate was grilled over a choice of words, while another candidate's criminal record was read aloud.

The current acting mayor and three commissioners vying for interim mayor cannot vote in this appointment.  That leaves six Democrats and three Republicans to choose the next Shelby County Mayor.

Commissioner J.W. Gibson, the firest candidate to speak, said he's a self-starter.

"I am what I like to call a home grown individual," he said. "I grew up in the Dixie Homes housing projects."

Commissioner Joe Ford said politics was his calling.   

"I'll lead this county," he said. "I'll guide the ship. I'll guide it straight."

Former Collierville Mayor Linda Kerley said she takes each person at face value.

"I've been called Democrat by Republicans, Republican by Democrats, so it's out there now," she said.

And Commissioner George Flinn spoke of problems keeping The MED's emergency room open.

"This is a serious challenge, and I'm the only one here with 35 years medical experience," he said.

As the meeting progressed, it was revealed that Commissioner Ford had a past.

"Four guilty pleas for 1991 - driving while license suspended, revoked or canceled charges," said assistant county attorney Kristi Kinard.

Ford also had a contempt of Juvenile Court charge in 1993 for being late on child support.

Then, Commissioner Steve Mulroy called Kerley out for her comments asking how many Democratic primaries she'd voted in over the last decade.

Mulroy: "Is it more than zero?"
Kerley: "I'm sure."

Mulroy wouldn't let up, showing Kerley her own voting record later in the meeting.

"Unless it's a different Linda Kerley in Collierville, Precinct 4C, 16 Republican primaries, zero Democratic primaries," he said.

"Can't argue with those facts," Kerley replied.

All the candidates said they would not seek election after serving the 11-month term.  Commissioners will vote on the finalist at their next meeting.

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