What office are you running for?
Tennessee House of Representatives District 97
With which party are you running for office?
August 6th, 2020
Why are you running for office?
The time has come for the left out to be brought in – into civic engagement opportunities and public arenas, into conversations, and into the democratic republic process as citizens with valuable lived experiences and input. The opportunity to make the change is upon us. I invite you to be the change that we want to see, not just in our community or district, but our state and country overall.
Together, as citizens and with me as your representative in the House, we can create a systemic impact that reflects Shelby County’s values. Historically, marginalized citizens systematically and traditionally were and are currently disallowed from participating in the process at such a high level, which leads to the idea that elected office is an unattainable concept for many people.
The time has come where those same individuals who have suffered from the prevention of participation in civic engagement need to be elevated. Not just elevated as voters, but also being a part of the democratic republic process as a solution, as a citizen. The opportunity to make the change is upon us. I invite you to be the change that we want to see not just in our country but in our state within our community and within our neighborhoods. The time for demands is over.
My story starts in Memphis, Tennessee and Indianapolis, Indiana as a young man. Active in the political process from a very young age, my parents and grandparents demonstrated the importance of being a contributing part of our democratic republic in the United States of America. Not only did I volunteer on campaigns, but I also worked as a polling clerk, volunteered to canvas, and get out the vote. I registered voters. I licked envelopes. That inspired me to meet my congressional representative, advocate for concerns and issues in my community, and when those efforts yielded less than satisfactory results. I went out and filled the void through the industry, collaboration, implementation. What I learned during my time as a servant leader is that a democratic republic relies on the engagement of its constituents and actively listening and implementing the will of those people.
As a classroom teacher, I found that many of our students and parents did not understand their civic responsibilities and rights. Some don’t functionally understand the concept of a democratic republic. They were busy, they worked, raised families, and did their best to make ends meet. They were not apathetic, they were exhausted. As a student, I studied apathy as it relates to voter engagement and election turn out. The conclusion of my studies was that the public is not ignorant nor do they care less to be involved in the day to day operations of our cities and country. They are being left out by career politicians and aspiring leaders. Although there are several barriers to participation in our democratic process that are systematic and prescriptive, I refuse to believe that “they don’t care” is the answer. I otherwise have seen that the process is difficult, faulty, and short-sighted. How do we fix it?
What is the biggest issue facing your community and how do you propose helping?
Economic opportunity and healthcare coverage, and education are the biggest issues facing our community. I propose expanding Medicaid in Tennessee by accepting the federal block grants and providing an estimated 300,000 Tennesseans healthcare coverage. I will write and fight for legislation that improves outcomes for Memphians and residents of District 97. We will work with legislators across Tennessee to create legislation that brings jobs and opportunities to all Shelby countians. We will lead the fight to increase teachers’ pay and fight for more money for our classrooms by increasing the per-pupil allotment for our public schools. We will fight like my grandfather before me to bring big companies to Memphis like Nike, Delta, and countless others.
How do we fix the partisan divide in our country and start working together again?
We use non-partisan data and common interests for better outcomes to fuel the work we do to educate our colleagues about the struggles of the entirety of our constituencies. We will work to leverage partnerships inside and outside the state to reach across the aisle and help all stakeholders involved realize that we have more in common than different. Throughout this pandemic, we understand how important education and teachers are to our communities. We have to pay our teachers better. Employment is essential to the survival of many of our families in our community. So is the safety of our families and workers. Jobless claims are increasing and we need small businesses and large businesses that are committed to its entire workforce. Both Democrats and Republicans can agree to create revenue streams through business development. We can work together to heal our country and build it to be the place our children want to live!
Who is your hero?
My grandfather and my mother are my heroes! My grandfather believed in Memphis and brought life to the city through nourishing its businesses and their leaders with wisdom and opportunity. My mother is a a lifelong educator and principal. She reminds me everyday that by working hard and doing our best we can succeed.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy fishing, traveling, and spending time with my family.
What is the most recent book you read?
How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Do you have any kids/pets/talking houseplants?
My wife and I have a a set of twin girls and two boys.
How can our readers get involved in your campaign?
Visit our website and volunteer to phone bank or canvass.
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