Memphis councilman JB Smiley, Jr. is well-known to voters in his community, but his goal is to extend that energy to the rest of Tennessee.
Tennesseans are concerned about the same issues most Americans are concerned with: affordable, quality education, housing and healthcare, the health and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and inflation.
But Smiley doesn’t want to let macro worries overshadow local ones; instead, he remarked, it’s important to show up in communities around the state and hear residents tell him their concerns.
He pointed out that while the political divide is more intense these days it’s possible to bridge some gaps in beliefs and gain support by highlighting the aforementioned issues in a locally-focused manner. His amendment to the Eviction Set Out Ordinance in the city banning landlords from throwing evicted tenants’ belongings on the curb received bipartisan support.
“JB has been an excellent leader in Memphis; a leader who really listens to all of the people of his community and works tirelessly to find solutions to their problems,” Deborah Reed, Munford City Alderwoman, said of her endorsement of his campaign. Reed is one of over 20 current and former local elected officials to throw her support behind the native Memphian.
The personal touch is missing in many campaigns for office, and it’s absolutely critical not only to running a successful race but also in improving the quality of life of constituents.
It’s a lesson imbued to him by the way Harold Ford, Jr. navigated his campaign for U.S. Senate in 2006, Smiley said, recalling Ford’s willingness to travel the state and meet people where they were. The New York Times reported that Ford’s campaign for the seat, ultimately won by Bob Corker, generated bipartisan support in such a way that the GOP was forced to go on the defensive for the office considered safely Republican.
One of Smiley’s priorities if elected will be to overturn the current administration’s permitless carry legislation, a move that seemed more for political favor than furthering anyone’s rights.