Memphian says term limit fight not over - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphian says term limit fight not over

More than 160,000 people voted for term limits in Shelby County. Tonight, the man who fought for signatures eleven years ago so that that could happen is outraged.

It may have been eleven years ago, but Joey Hadley remembers his fight for term limits all too well.

"Oh, it was days and it was nights. Just telephone calls after telephone calls," he says.

In 1994, it was Hadley who led the petition drive to put term limits on the ballot. 81 percent of Shelby County voters wanted them. In that election, it meant more than 160,000 people.

But in a dramatic reversal, a state appeals court ruled in favor of Walter Bailey and two other Shelby County Commissioners who want to run again. The court ruled the term limits vote should never have happened.

"When it passed, Walter Bailey told me immediately after it passed, he said i'm gonna sue that it be overtuned. He said I don't think it's constitutional and I said, Walter it's the will of 81 percent of the people, how could it not be constitutional. And he told me in 1994 he was gonna do it," he says.

Shelby County Attorney Brian Kuhn says the County will fight to the Supreme Court.

County Commissioner Bruce Thompson is ready if the County doesn't win that fight. "If indeed what we did in 1994 is not upheld, then I want the Attorney General to tell us up front what we have to do in order to allow the people to enact these term limits."

In the meantime, Hadley says the voice of the people has been ignored. "What elected official ever gets elected by 81 percent? But the people wanted term limits."

He says the fight is not over yet.

County Attorney Brian Kuhn tells us taxpayers have paid something in the neighborhood of $50,000 so far to fight the lawsuit brought by the three county commissioners.

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