MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland officially announced he will be seeking re-election as the top city leader on Tuesday.
His campaign has already raised more than $750,000 toward the 2019 effort.
Strickland won by a large margin over incumbent A C Wharton Jr. and other candidates in 2015.
Strickland said ServiceMaster’s decision to stay in Memphis and move the company headquarters downtown, rebuilding the Memphis Police Department and coming up for a plan to fund universal pre-kindergarten are among his proudest accomplishments.
Read the full statement from Mayor Strickland below.
Today I announced that I will seek re-election as Mayor of Memphis. It has been the honor of my life to serve as your Mayor, and I am asking again for your support so together we can build on the progress and opportunities that stand before us.
We have accomplished much during my leadership. I am most excited about the unprecedented growth in jobs and economic development in our city over the past three years. More than 18,000 more Memphians are working today. Unemployment is near-record low. More than $15 billion in development is happening in Greater Memphis, and for the first time in decades, more of that is happening inside our city limits than outside of them.
Memphis has momentum, and we can continue to attract more businesses and jobs by providing a reliable, responsible government.
Over the past three years, I have tackled many of the critical challenges that caused me to run for Mayor in the first place. I am proud of the many things we have done to further our community’s collective quest for a better Memphis.
- launched city funding for pre-Kindergarten, allowing the community to provide universal needs-based pre-K for the first time without a tax increase;
- created more opportunity for our youth with an increase in summer jobs, making summer camps free for the first time, and expanded programs in parks; libraries and community centers;
- doubled spending with women and minority owned businesses from 12 percent to 24 percent;
- reduced 911 wait call times from 60 seconds to fewer than 10 seconds today;
- doubled street paving, improved trash collection to parts of the city serviced by a private contractor, and created a new city division to focus on improving collection citywide.
When I took office, our police force was depleted and demoralized. Since then, we hired more police officers and we are continuing the long-term work of rebuilding the Memphis Police Department with our first net annual gain of officers in seven years (and we did this two years in a row).
You elected me with a mandate for change and that’s what I have done. Under my leadership, city government is more efficient, and we passed three balanced budgets with no tax increase. Memphis no longer will grow our population through annexation. Instead, we are building a thriving city where families and young adults will want to live and enjoy a promising future. For the first time in decades, we implemented a long-term plan to invest in our core neighborhoods – building up and not out.
I believe we can continue to build on the amazing progress and momentum now before us. I believe we can create even more jobs and better opportunities for all our workers. I believe the challenges and roadblocks that have held us back in the past, including crime and poverty, though monumental, are not insurmountable. We can seize the future ahead because today, for the first time in a generation, we can see that future with clear eyes.
I have listened to you. I have learned from you. Your input has made me a better Mayor.
I look forward to the campaign ahead and the chance to further share our goals and vision for the next four years.
Before becoming mayor, Jim Strickland served on the Memphis City Council. He was elected to his current position after beating incumbent AC Wharton in 2015.
Strickland is the second big name to announce a run for the mayor of Memphis.
In April, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said he would be getting back in the political ring.
Herenton, first elected in 1991, served five terms before resigning in 2009 for an unsuccessful run at a U.S. House seat.