Mayor Herenton responds to outraged critics - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Mayor Herenton responds to outraged critics

For the first time since election night, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton responds  to critics who were outraged at the acceptance speech he delivered on election night.

The mayor got several standing ovations Sunday morning at his home church, Mount Vernon Baptist in Westwood.

Afterwards, Herenton talked enthusiastically about his next term. "I just really believe that our best days are ahead of us. We've made progress in the past but man ah you know the progress we are going to make in the future I think is going to be phenomenal," says Herenton.

As for his election night speech, Mayor  Herenton says he was speaking from his heart when he talked about people who disappointed him.

Just a few days ago, Herenton was in a contentious fight for re-election. He says that he always knew that his opponents didn't have a mathematical chance of winning.

"I knew that Chumney could not win. I knew that Herman Morris could not win. I knew that the numbers favored us and all we had to do was win early voting. All of our strategies came in right on time," adds Herenton.

And while Herenton's election night speech raised some eyebrows, he says that it wasn't planned that way. "I didn't plan to do that but it was good that I did. I needed a cleansing. I needed to get that out of my system."

Herenton says its time for a healing in the city and as mayor he wants to move the city in the right direction.

"I care about its healing. I'm just not going to accept the soul responsibility for dealing with the problems of other people. I will be a participant in any healing process. I will work with any groups for the betterment of Memphis and for the betterment of Memphis Willie Herenton is on the team," adds Herenton.

Herenton says in the future you will see the city work harder on everything from fighting crime to providing more affordable housing but he says the efforts will require everyone's help.

"Everybody needs to roll up their sleeves and everybody contributes to solving the problem," he adds.

As for his legacy, Herenton says he believes history will be kind to him. "And obviously I want the Herenton years to be the best years. Ah, that this city has experience and I think when the annals of political history are written ,ah, the Herenton years will be some dramatic years and we just want to continue to move forward."

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