Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Be an Informed Voter for Equality

Early Voting has begun in the Memphis City elections, and will continue through October 1, 2011, with the General Election on October 4th. Information on Early Voting locations can be found here.

TEP PAC recently announced endorsements for City Council, and these biographical sketches are produced by the TEP Shelby County Committee to help our Equality voters to know more about their candidates. A special thanks to our TEP intern, Hannah Guess of the University of Memphis, for the work she put into compiling this for us.

It is important that every Equality Advocate in Tennessee votes in every election. Many races are won by just a handful of votes in local elections. Every vote counts, and it is your right as a citizen to vote. Remember, votes are like muscles, exercise them or you may lose them. See you all at the polls!

TEP PAC is a state political action committee registered in Tennessee, Joyce Peacock, treasurer. The endorsements of TEP PAC do not necessarily represent the views of the board of the Tennessee Equality Project.

Kendrick Sneed
Millington native Kendrick Sneed is running for District 1. After graduating from Millington Central High School, Sneed worked as a campaign aide for former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Sr., then went on to serve the county as a Deputy Sheriff for the Shelby County Sheriff's Department. Sneed is currently working towards a degree in Applied Psychology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from Christian Brothers University.
Sneed is committed to reforming the city's educational system and to serving the underprivileged in the community. He is also interested in registering and educating new voters on the issues that matter the most to them. Sneed's support of workers' rights and benefits has earned him an endorsement by the AFL-CIO Labor Council.

Sylvia Cox

District 2 candidate Sylvia Cox is originally from Illinois, but she has lived in Memphis for over 30 years. Cox has both a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Harding University and an Associate Degree in Business Applications Technology from Southwest Tennessee Community College. Prior to her current job as an IT Contractor with Accredo Health, Cox worked at FedEx, along with serving District 2 on the Memphis Charter Commission for three years.
Cox is very involved in the community, serving as a board member of both Network of Memphis, an organization for progressive businesswomen, and MidSouth Science Fiction Conventions. She also volunteers at the St. Jude Golf Tournament and the Orpheum Theatre. Cox is especially concerned with making positive changes at the Memphis Animal Shelter, and she shows her dedication to animals by serving as a volunteer for Real Good Dog Rescue.

Wanda Halbert
Native Memphian Wanda Halbert has served District 4 since 2007. Prior to her time on the city council, Halbert served on the Memphis City School Board for seven years and was its president in 2005. She has worked at FedEx for over 20 years. Halbert attended both State Technical Institute and the University of Memphis.
Halbert has shown a particular commitment to women and minorities in the community, having created the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Commission, as well as students, sponsoring a resolution to fund literacy programs for Memphis City Schools. In her time on the city council, Halbert has worked to clean up the blight in her district. She is dedicated to community service, volunteering her time to multiple organizations including March of Dimes and United Way. Halbert has been endorsed by the Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council. Last session, Halbert voted in favor of the employment non-discrimination ordinance.

Jim Strickland
Jim Strickland has served District 5 since 2007. Although originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Strickland has lived in Memphis for over 30 years, attending both the University of Memphis and the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey's School of Law. Strickland is a practicing attorney, having formerly served as an instructor at the Cecil C. Humphrey's School of Law and as a Tennessee Supreme Court clerk.
An active member of the community, Strickland has volunteered for multiple organizations in the city, including the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen and Alpha Omega Veterans Services. Strickland also served on the Board of Directors for both Habitat for Humanity and the Memphis Botanic Garden. Strickland has shown a commitment to the environment, resurrecting the city's Recycling Committee and devoting a great deal of time to protecting Overton Park. Strickland supported last session’s employment non-discrimination ordinance. Strickland was also endorsed by the Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council.

Edmund Ford, Jr.
Native Memphian Edmund Ford, Jr. has served District 6 since 2007. Ford earned both a B.S. in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science and an M.S. in Mathematical Sciences from Tennessee State University, before taking 2 years of PhD classes in Leaderhip and Policy Studies at Vanderbilt and earning an Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University. Ford is currently working on an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University. Ford’s father, Edmund Ford, Sr. is running for Mayor in this election.
As a math teacher at Central High School, Ford shows a dedication to education, having created the Ford Gateway Tutoring Fund to aid students struggling with math examinations. Ford is an Advisory Board Member of the Tennessee Renewable Energy and Economic Development Council and an active member of the community, involved with multiple neighborhood associations and MPACT Memphis. The Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council has endorsed Ford. Ford voted in favor of the employment non-discrimination ordinance last session.

Lee Harris
District 7 candidate Lee Harris was born and raised in Memphis. Harris earned a B.A. in International Studies from Morehouse College before earning a law degree from Yale Law School. Harris now teaches at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey's School of Law.
Harris has been involved with a number of organizations, including the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. He helped to form and lead the Young Democrats of Memphis and Shelby County, as well as chairing a local Head Start program. He also serves as a director of the Goodwill Homes Community Services Agency. Harris has been endorsed by West Tennesseans for Progress.

Tammy Warren
Proof not approved in time for publication

Janis Fullilove
Janis Fullilove has served District 8 since 2007. A native Memphian, Fullilove has a B.A. and a Masters in Communication from the University of Memphis. Before being elected to the city council, Fullilove was an instructor of communications at the University of Memphis and served on the Memphis Charter Commission. Fullilove also has a history in the broadcasting world, even earning an Emmy nomination for her reporting on ABC 24.
Fullilove is dedicated to serving the underprivileged and minorities in her district. She is also dedicated to transforming the city, helping to begin the South Memphis Revitalization Project. Fullilove was also endorsed by the Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council. Fullilove is one of the most outspoken advocates in the city for LGBT rights, and she sponsored the first employment non-discrimination ordinance presented to the council.

Myron Lowery
City Council Chairman Myron Lowery has served on the city council for five terms. Although originally from Columbus, Ohio, Lowery has lived in Memphis for over 45 years. Lowery holds a B.A. in Sociology from LeMoyne-Owen College, an M.S. in Education from New York University, and an M.S. in Urban Education from University of Tennessee. Lowery served as Chairman of the Memphis Charter Commission and as Mayor Pro Tem. Lowery has been a board member of numerous city organizations, including the Headstart Policy Council, the Riverfront Development Corporation, and the Memphis Zoo. Lowery is the former Vice President of the National Association of Black Journalists. He is currently a board member of both the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials and the National League of Cities.
Lowery is extremely involved in the community. Lowery has led a number of fatherhood events, as well as gun buy-back programs, and he has been endorsed by the Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council. He is also involved with the Memphis Urban League and the Goodwill Boys Club. Last session, he voted yes on the employment non-discrimination ordinance.

Paul Shaffer
Paul Shaffer is running for Position One of District Nine. Although Shaffer is not originally from Memphis, he has lived in various parts of the city for nearly forty years. Shaffer has worked as a journeyman electrician since graduating from the Memphis Electrical Apprenticeship Program. Shaffer is currently the business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 474, as well as president of the Memphis Building and Construction Trades Council and vice president of both the Memphis and Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Councils.
Shaffer is involved in a number of local organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and United Way. He also volunteers his time to the Wolf River Conservancy and the National Ornamental Metal Museum. Shaffer has been endorsed by the Memphis AFL-CIO Labor Council, the Memphis and West Tennessee Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Memphis Firefighters Association IAFF 1784.

Shea Flinn
Shea Flinn has served District 9 since 2007. A native Memphian, Flinn has a B.A. from Rhodes College and a law degree from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphrey's School of Law. Flinn was also an interim state senator. He is currently the vice president of, and attorney for, Flinn Broadcasting Corporation.
Flinn has shown a dedication to fighting crime in the city, creating Citizens Against Crime and serving as a chair of Operation: Safe Community. Flinn supports non-discrimination employment policies for public employees, and he sponsored the latest version of the employment non-discrimination ordinance presented to the council.

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