Ethics a heavy consideration for political hopefuls - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ethics a heavy consideration for political hopefuls

Starting Friday, people who want to run for Shelby County office can go to the election commission to pick up petitions. Already, many have announced they will run, and the one thing everyone is talking about is cleaning up local government.

The banner summer of bad news may be in the rearview mirror, but with the Shelby County political season now underway, ethics concerns are all over the horizon.

"I think Democrats are going to push candidates to make strong commitments on ethics and on conflicts of interest," said David Upton of the Tennessee Democratic Party. "I think you'll see that happening."

Upton's party took a hit this year. All of the Shelby County politicians indicted in the FBI's Tennessee Waltz sting were democrats. Newspaper reports about political favor-trading downtown have also brought the cloud of mistrust low.

"It is time to clean house," he said.

Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Bill Giannini is ready for a fight. And he's not alone. Already, candidates for Shelby County Commission posts have been announcing, proposing and blogging about ethics. From criticizing seated officials to pushing for tighter rules, the stage is set for a tough race on ethics.

"We are going to do everything we can as a party, the Republican Party, to make sure that it's an issue," Giannini said.

Upton, for his part, says he believes Shelby County voters will be more interested in safety and public health issues, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

"Ethics will be important, but I think the voters want politicians who can deliver on services, and not just promise," he said.

But as the first round of flyers shows, ethics are clearly top of mind.

The political races end with a primary in May and a general election in August. On the ballot, all elected county jobs including the Mayor's office and the County Commission.

The deadline for qualifying is February 16th.

Powered by Frankly