• Mayoral candidates divided over issues in Shelby County

    By: Greg Coy


    People attending the Shelby County mayoral debate at the National Civil Rights Museum got a clear difference of the candidates’ philosophies when it comes to tackling pressure as the next mayor. 

    Democrat Lee Harris and Republican David Lenoir shared different opinions on the issues of education, crime and growth in a debate sponsored by the NAACP. 

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    Lenoir touted his tenure as the trustee, the county banker that helped to generate money for programs.

    Harris reminded voters of his experience as both city councilman and state senator.

    The NAACP sponsored the event and selected questions of importance to county voters such as education.

    Lenoir proposed a new position in the mayor’s office to work with the school department.

    “I want to have this education liaison in the mayor’s office that reports directly to me, the mayor that says we need great education,” Lenoir said.

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    Harris advocated for more vocational programs in schools. 

    “Right now we have 20,000 students taking career and job skills classes, but very few are graduating with a job certificate,” said Harris.

    The divide between the two candidates became quite obvious on the issue of crime.

    Lenoir made claims that Harris was soft on crime and used his voting record in Nashville as proof.  

    “My opponent is soft on crime,” Lenoir said. “He voted against a bill in Nashville that would toughen the sentencing for criminals with guns.”

    Harris fought back, claiming Lenoir didn’t understand his vote or the issue.  

    “He is talking about a bill that says you should get ten years in prison for illegal possession of a firearm that targets nonviolent offenders,” Harris said. “I would use those resources to target the rapists, the murders.”

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