MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mayor Jim Strickland reacted Friday to Dr. Willie Herenton's announcement to run for mayor in 2019, saying he is addressing many of the city's critical problems.
"I respect Mayor Herenton," Strickland said at the opening of the Martin Luther King Reflection Park downtown.
Herenton is the first person to publicly announce he will challenge the current mayor.
Herenton saying his own agenda is unfinished and the problems that plague Memphis need attention now.
"We got tough problems. Education, crime, poverty. All of these issues I firmly believe, not to speak disparagingly of the current administration, I think these issues are way over their heads," Herenton said.
Mayor Strickland says his administration is addressing the critical problems.
"I am so proud of the effort we have done, 12,000 more Memphians working today than 2 years ago, increase minority spending at city government, trying to build wealth in the African American community, paving more streets, hiring more police officers. We have got momentum and I am so proud of that," Strickland said.
Two very different opinions from two very different leaders.
"I just feel very passionate about the challenges in our community. Not to speak disparagingly of the present leadership. I just think I am in better position to make a difference and that is why I am running," Herenton said.
"I am so proud of the work we have done to make Memphis a better place. I just look forward to more years of trying to make this a better Memphis," Strickland said.
Mayor Strickland says it is too early to say if he will run again.
We talked with people today for their thoughts on Herenton running.
He has his support but also those who wonder if his time is over and it`s time to move on.