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TN Politics: Keeping City Elections Nonpartisan


Memphis City Council Member Martavius Jones indefinitely tabled a referendum that might have gone on the November ballot asking voters to create partisan primaries for the offices of mayor and city council.

Political analyst Otis Sanford says critics have attacked the measure as creating unnecessary political polarization at the local level.

But one new referendum will remain on the August ballot: extending term limits for the mayor and city council members. Sanford says that while voters have repeatedly supported term limits, the promise of another term for popular Mayor Jim Strickland could sway voters to make a change.

Also this week, state Republican leadership once again injected itself into COVID-19 vaccination policy. As the CDC was approving vaccines for children, lawmakers composed a letter to Gov. Bill Lee asking that the state health department deny vaccines to children.

Sanford says it would adversely affect communities of color which rely on local health departments for life-saving vaccinations for their children.

Reporting from the gates of Graceland to the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, Christopher's favorite haunt is the intersection of history and cultural change. He is WKNO's News Director and Senior Producer at the University of Memphis' Institute for Public Service Reporting. Join his conversations about the Memphis arts scene on the WKNO Culture Desk Facebook page.