Weekly Update

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I’m honored every day that I get to come to work for you in the Mayor’s Office, and it’s a privilege that I never take for granted.


But, like many things in life, it has its highs and lows. For this week’s Update, I can’t help but think of the words from Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.


Let me explain.


The best of times—There are so many wonderful things happening every day in our city (many of which I have written about in this space). One of them happened this week with the announcement of Ford Motor Company coming to the Memphis Regional Megasite. It’s the largest single investment in our state’s history ($5.6 billion) as well as the company’s. It will be transformative for all of West Tennessee, and I was fortunate enough to be at the announcement to witness history as it unfolded.


This development will benefit Memphis in several ways:

  • Construction jobs on the multimillion dollar Blue Oval City
  • Opportunities to land some of the nearly 6,000 jobs once construction is complete
  • Along with Ford, there will be many other supplier companies that come to the site and potentially locate in Memphis and Shelby County creating even more opportunities for employment.

Congratulations to Governor Lee, Commissioner Rolfe and their staffs for making this deal a reality for the citizens of West Tennessee.


The worst of times—The Ford announcement was made at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Directly after, at 11 a.m., I was at the funeral of 35-year old Officer Jimmie “Alex” Shindler. He was one of our Best in Blue and was taken well before his time. He was a young man with a family who was loved by his co-workers and the public. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends, and the whole Memphis Police Department who lost one of their own.


Then, yesterday morning, tragedy struck at Cummings K-8 school. Fortunately, the young man who was shot should have a full recovery, but the shooting is heart-wrenching, and serves as another reminder that we still have much work to do in reducing violent crime in our city. 


I’m grateful for the quick action of Shelby County Schools officials and our Memphis Police Department who did everything they could to ensure the safety of all the students.  


Events like this further demonstrate the need for early intervention in our young peoples’ lives. Its why we’ve increased funding for youth programming at Memphis Parks, Memphis Public Libraries, our Office of Youth Services, and the recently approved funding for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.


But, City government cannot do this alone.


To parents in Memphis—please (if you have them) secure your guns so your children (and criminals) do not have access; know what is going on in your children’s lives; and, lastly and maybe most importantly, take responsibility as parents. While we certainly need to reverse the lax laws that have allowed easy access to guns, parents and families must be engaged.


This shooting should never have happened. How could a 13-year old obtain a gun, bring it to school, and shoot someone?  We must put a stop to gun violence, and working together we can.


Memphis Parks: Earlier this week, Memphis Parks (formerly the division of parks and neighborhoods) rebranded and created a new, easier to use vibrant website. We have so many beautiful parks throughout our city, and to commemorate the rebrand, I have proclaimed the weekend of October 8th-9th to be Memphis Parks Appreciation weekend. Check out the website when you have time, and more importantly, get out and visit one of our parks near you.


While we live in a city that has complex challenges, we still live in an amazing place.


I love my job, and I love my city even more.


Enjoy your weekend!


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