District 2 Council race has six candidates and one main issue — crime

By , Daily Memphian Updated: September 07, 2023 4:00 AM CT | Published: September 07, 2023 4:00 AM CT

In the coming days, The Daily Memphian will be previewing each of the City Council races on the Oct. 5 ballot. The stories are being made available to all readers. 

Every candidate pursuing elected office has his or her own points to make. But the six people running for the open City Council District 2 position, left vacant by Frank Colvett, surely can agree on something that candidate Marvin White said:

“We need a good working council.”

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There is also agreement on the top issue: Memphis’ crime crisis.

District 2 covers East Memphis, parts of Cordova and Hickory Hill. Recently, candidate Jerri Green was campaigning – literally knocking on doors – and in all those places she says people spoke about the epidemic of car break-ins fueled by thieves’ quests for guns.

But it was when she met an elderly couple living on Kirby Parkway, whose home had been broken into on a Sunday afternoon, that she realized just how much crime is impacting everyone day-to-day.

“It’s a more generalized fear,” Green said of what residents are experiencing. “As a parent, I’ve had my kids go on lockdown twice because there was an active shooter in the area.”

Here is a closer look at the six candidates for District 2:

Jerri Green: Serves as senior policy adviser to Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris. Married with three children, Green has adopted a campaign slogan to fit those facts: “One Tough Mother.”

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She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University of Law, has worked at the University of Memphis Law School and was the previous executive director of the Community Legal Center.

Green is not for defunding the police, saying: “We need a police force fully staffed with full resources.”

She added that real-time mental-health support for police-public interactions should be part of that equation, and “we need another crime lab in Memphis so they don’t have to drive to Jackson.”

Green says she set up the county’s website from which people can apply for free gun locks.

So far, Green says, more than 1,000 gun locks have been distributed. The locks cost the county $2 and $5 for postage.

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“So $7 to save a life,” she said, adding it’s not just easy access to guns that plays into violent crime rates, but suicide rates and accidental shooting rates, too.

Scott McCormick: Served on City Council from 2004-2008 and as chairman in 2008. He spent six years on the Shelby County School Board from 2014 to 2020, serving as Vice Chair in 2019.

He is the only one of the six candidates to previously have been a council member, and McCormick also has served as executive director at Memphis Botanic Garden and the Plough Foundation. 

Should McCormick be elected this time, he says it would be his “grand finale.”

A critical part of fighting the crime problem will come when a new mayor is elected because it is likely, in McCormick’s opinion, the new mayor wants a new police chief to replace Cerelyn “C.J.” Davis. The council approves such a hiring, and McCormick said: “We have to make sure we get the right police chief.”

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McCormick also is concerned about blight in District 2, noting that a Colorado company owns 240 rental properties in town.

“We have a lot of absentee landlords with rental homes falling into disrepair,” he said.

Marvin White: Four years ago, White, a manager at FedEx who also owns a small marketing firm that helps small businesses expand their digital footprint, ran for City Council.

“I lost to a two-time incumbent,” he said. “So this is nothing new for me. I believe in a better Memphis. I’m not one of those people who have given up on our city.”

White also is president of the Memphis Tigers Rebounds Club and serves on the Leadership Memphis board of directors.

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He says public safety is jeopardized by many “crimes of opportunity” that are driven by a lack of economic opportunity for large segments of the community. But he adds: “There’s a huge lack of respect for fellow humans,” and says the police and the community must form a partnership.

White notes that both the Memphis Police and Memphis Firefighter associations have endorsed him in the District 2 Council race.

“We need to make sure we’re drawing the best talent on our police force,” he said, “and also retaining them.”

Here are the other three candidates running for District 2:

Keith Burks: Served in the U.S. Army for more than two decades. He grew up in the Lamar Terrace Housing projects, earned an undergraduate degree at Delta State, a master’s degree at the University of Memphis and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

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He works as the Quality Manager at International Flavors and Flagrances.

Will Frazier: A LeMoyne-Owen College graduate, Frazier has served as President of the Greater Whitehaven Development Corporation and as a board member of the Shelby County Alcohol Commission.

He operates Will Frazier and Associates Insurance and Investment Firm. 

Rodanial Ray Ransom: Served as Shelby County Deputy Register on the Shelby County Democratic Party Judicial Review Board and the Shelby County Grass Roots Council.

Retired from the U.S. Navy, Ransom holds a master’s degree in science leadership, and he is a doctoral candidate in public administration with a focus on law and public policy.


District 2 City Council race Marvin White Jerri Green Scott McCormick Will Frazier
Don Wade

Don Wade

Don Wade has been a Memphis journalist since 1998 and he has won awards for both his sports and news/feature writing. He is originally from Kansas City and is married with three sons.


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