MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis has a new generation of leadership in the mayor’s office, and Mayor-elect Paul Young says he’s the unifying leader that Memphis needs to take it to the next level.
WREG’s Greg Hurst interviewed Young on his Informed Sources program, days after Young declared victory in the race. Part 1 of the interview is above, and you can watch Parts 2 and 3 below.
“For too long we’ve been city that has promise. The city that’s almost there. My goal is to be the city that’s reaching its potential,” Young said. “This is the time for our generation to step up to lead, and do the things that are necessary to write this next page of Memphis history.”
Young was born and raised in Memphis and has a degree in electrical engineering and a Master’s in urban planning. He previously served as director of Housing and Community Development before taking the top job at the Downtown Memphis Commission.
“My goal on this earth is to improve communities in this city,” he said. “I started doing that through community development work, as intern in Planning and Development, as director of Housing and Community Development, and now as president of Downtown Memphis Commission, and I saw this role as the way to ultimately realize my purpose.”
Young won his election among 17 candidates with about 27% of the vote, but says he’s a full supporter of future mayoral elections being decided by 50% of the electorate. He thinks Memphis will return to that in the future.
Crime is the biggest issue facing Memphis, but the mayor also has to clean up the streets, provide job opportunities and support arts and culture, he said. He’s not about pointing fingers and blaming anyone.
“We’re going to face our challenges head-on, but we also know and believe that our city is greater than the narrative that we’ve had for the past couple years.”
Young is a Democrat, but has worked with Republicans in the past. That’s key to making progress, he said.
“We can only get so far divided. We have to unify our city,” he said. “I tell people that I’m a Democrat, but I’m also a statesman. At the end of the day, I want to get the most results for the people of our city, so I’m going to work with Democrats, I’m going to work with Republicans. You’re going to see a unified city that’s moving forward in an agressive way.”
In Part 2 of the interview, Young addressed tackling Memphis crime, the role of the police chief and the leadership of MLGW:
In Part 3, Greg Hurst asked Paul Young why he wanted the mayor’s job. He said he was inspired by the book ” A Purpose Driven Life.”