By Malorie Paine
MEMPHIS, TN — Memphis mayor candidate Tami Sawyer says that Memphis cannot wait when it comes to resolving issues she sees the city face, which is why she is hoping to be elected as the next mayor of Memphis.
“We have an urgency around social issues that our city is challenged with, and we have to find an immediate solution for the poverty that has existed and the rate that has not changed since Dr. King was still here 51 years ago,” Sawyer said. “We have to finally invest in the youth of Memphis and put people first.”
Sawyer’s campaign is centered around the idea that “We Can’t Wait,” and says she chose this platform because the time is now to change Memphis’ trajectory.
“It’s about us making this change right now,” she said. “We don’t have 4 years; we don’t have 10 or 15 years to wait for economics to trickle down throughout our community while people of color are continued to be denied basic services and displaced throughout Memphis.”
Sawyer, a current Shelby County Commissioner, said if elected mayor, she would bring economic development to areas of the city that have remained untouched for many years. Though the city has seen much development and revitalization throughout the past several years, the development has not been in the areas that need it most, she said. Areas such as Orange Mound and Frayser would be a focus for her.
Sawyer said two main goals that she’ll continue from her work as a commissioner will be to focus on criminal justice reform and education.
“I have advocated for funding education as much as we can,” she said. “I’ve lead the charge to have additional money in this current budget for our educational system. I have advocated for criminal justice reform, including making sure that with our juvenile justice system we have oversight with our courts and allowing juveniles to make free calls to their families and stay connected with their community.”
Sawyer has a complete vision for the city that she believes touches on all relevant issues. She has a vision for an ideal Memphis, and she wants to work bring her vision to life.
“I want to see a Memphis where people are able to afford housing, one where people feel safe and welcome regardless of their identity,” she said. “I want to see a Memphis that celebrates the culture of the city and one where our kids are thriving in schools and feel their investments are in their future. I want to see our city continuing to develop while people are also able to progress in their personal lives.”
If elected, Sawyer would become the first female mayor of Memphis. She believes she is the right woman for the job. Sawyer has more than a decade and a half of both corporate and nonprofit experience to bring to the city.
“Anybody can run for office and lead a city if they have a vision and know how to execute that vision,” Sawyer said. “I will put people in places where they will be able to make the best decisions for our city.”