D'Army Bailey will not back Turner for vacant State House seat

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Former Circuit Court judge D'Army Bailey said he will not back Memphis civil rights leader Johnnie Turner for the District 85 seat left behind by her husband, the late Tennessee Representative Larry Turner.

Turner's widow, NAACP leader Johnnie Turner, wants to replace her husband.  But Bailey, the National Civil Rights Museum founder, is backing her opponent, Attorney Errol Harmon.

Bailey said the next representative should be equipped to handle committees that pass criminal laws, like the House Judiciary.

"I have not been overly impressed with the work that the NAACP has done with the problem of powerlessness and poverty of blacks in this community," Bailey said.  "She can continue to do that work with the NAACP."

Bailey said he has utmost respect for Turner, but the appointment should not be about relationships.

"That's part of the problem with the power structure of Memphis, even the money structure, is that money and power are passed along by families," Bailey said.  "Well, that isn't the way it ought to be.  It ought to be passed along by diversity of people committed to do the best they can to promote the interests of the citizens of this community."

Bailey said he will share these sentiments with Shelby County Commissioners before they appoint Turner's replacement Monday.

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