By Ashley Benkarski
PULASKI, TN — Janice Tucker is running as a write-in candidate for alderman, the first African American woman to vie for the city’s position.
After attending city council meetings regularly for the last year and a half, she said she noticed a lack of representation of African American women on the Board and decided she could do something about it.
“It’s more about what’s not going on,” she said of the Board’s actions. There aren’t many African Americans on the town’s boards and administrative positions, she said, and many decisions and activities are geared toward the white community. “We need more diversity,” Tucker relayed.
“The decision concerning the Sam Davis statue disturbed me because the majority spoke to keep it. But If we always stand for the majority on decisions then minorities will never win. The majority is not always right.”
Pulaski’s city workers were given one day off of their choice during June in remembrance of Juneteenth. It’s a great start, Tucker said, but Pulaski should continue to move forward. “You have to start rather than just worrying about where it ends. Make your vote count. It does count. It matters. Our ancestors fought so hard for this right.”
There’s a sense of complacency with these issues, Tucker noted, saying that community action against organized racism stopped at shutting stores. Although she stood with the community and marched, she added she felt unsure the decision was motivated by economic concerns and not a sincere rebuke of organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan.
Tucker’s seeking to fight that ambiguity as a liaison for Pulaski’s Black community and all others, especially in a place where African American women are severely underrepresented.
But she’s not into making promises since there are multiple aldermen and it just isn’t possible, she said.
She wants to make sure Black citizens in the town can see themselves in decision-making roles, giving them more incentive to get involved in local politics.
“I got tired of not doing anything,” she said, referring to her retirement from Frito-Lay where she served on company committees of safety, quality intervention and diversity and inclusion. She’s also worked with youth organizations and other local advocacy agencies in her town and has been out in the community registering people to vote and talking to people who’ve lost the right to vote.
Tucker isn’t worried about her chances as a write-in candidate, stating “Nothing is too hard for God.”
“I want to be the voice for those who feel their voice doesn’t matter, for if ‘[W]e all are created equal’ as stated in the Declaration of Independence, then equality and fairness must be for all people,” she said.
Early voting continues until Oct. 29 with the general election being Nov. 3. Remember, to vote for Tucker you’ll have to write her name in on your ballot. For voting locations and times, sample ballots and other information visit sos.tn.gov.Photo cutline: Janice Tucker