Two candidates vie for District 4 council seat that each sees as their own

By , Daily Memphian Updated: September 10, 2023 4:01 PM CT | Published: September 09, 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.

Two women, one a current member of the Memphis City Council and the other a former member, are vying for the District 4 seat.

Incumbent Jana Swearengen-Washington is seeking reelection to the seat she won in a special election last year. Teri Dockery — who was appointed and briefly held the seat when Swearengen-Washington’s sister, Jamita Swearengen, resigned last year — is also seeking a return to the City Council.

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Neither Dockery nor Swearengen-Washington responded to attempts for comment about the race. 

Since her election last year, Swearengen-Washington — an assistant principal in Forrest City, Arkansas — has been a quiet member of the body. She’s been particularly focused on Orange Mound, which composes much of her district. 

Dockery, a corporate recruiter, was on the council for about two months before Swearengen-Washington replaced her. According to reports, she ruffled some feathers with her treatment of staff, which led Council Chairman Martavius Jones to reprimand her.

Earlier this year, a Dockery event at a Memphis police precinct was canceled when Memphis City Council Vice Chairman JB Smiley Jr. raised concerns that it would represent campaigning on city property. 


Jana Swearengen-Washington Teri Dockery Memphis City Council
Samuel Hardiman

Samuel Hardiman

Samuel Hardiman is an enterprise and investigative reporter who focuses on local government and politics. A native Rhode Islander who lives in Midtown, there’s a good chance he is Midtown Donuts' top customer.


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