At least 7 different people will be elected to Shelby County Commission

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Voters will elect a very different Shelby County Commission the next time they go to the polls.

The current members of the commission are facing term limits, deciding not to run for re-election, or running for other elected offices. That recipe means Shelby County Commission will be filled with a lot of new faces next year.

Chairwoman Heidi Shafer is one of the commissioners who will not be returning to her seat.

"I'm term limited and I'm in favor of term limits. That helps make sure we get a change over in it. I'm at the end of my 8 years," Shafer said.

With Shafer moving on, it's unclear who will lead the commission.

"The chair will be someone who's in this commission now," Rhodes College Professor of Political Science Mike Nelson said. "How effective that chair will be at leading the group when most of its members are serving for the first time, that'll depend on how these folks learn to relate to each other."

Commissioners Willie Brooks and Van Turner are all running unopposed. So they will all be back for the next session.

Commissioners Eddie Jones, Mark Billingsley, Steve Basar, and Reginald Milton all must face primary or general election challengers.

One of those six will take over the chair for the next commission.

There are 13 seats total in the commission. At least seven of those will have new members next year.

"There's going to be an awful lot of learning by doing on the job, but also there's going to be a new group dynamic. With all of these new people, how well do they relate to each other is going to have a lot to do with how well our county government works," Nelson said.

Shelby County Commission controls and funds Shelby County Schools, Shelby County Sheriff's Office, 201 Poplar, and Regional Medical Center. The upcoming election could have a huge impact on the future of our community.

Early voting for the primary ends April 26. The general election for the county is August 2.

[Editor's note: An earlier version of this story identified Commissioner Reginald Milton as running unopposed. While no challenger was shown on the sample ballot, records from the Shelby County Election Commission indicate he will face independent candidate Vontina Durham in the general election.]

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