Today is Friday, August 18, 2017

Lebanon native to take reins in Memphis next week

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By SAM HATCHERThe Wilson Post

Last week Tennessee’s largest city elected a new mayor.        He is the first new mayor of Memphis in almost two decades.       And the new mayor, who is expected to be officially sworn into office next week, is from Lebanon.           Lebanon native AC Wharton, 65, was elected mayor of the City of Memphis last Thursday with what might be considered a landslide victory. His election means he will be giving up the office of Shelby County Mayor, a position to which he was first elected in 2002.           Wharton, who grew up in Lebanon and attended public schools here, won the election with more than 60 percent of the vote and with a margin of more than 50,000 votes over his closest opponent. There were more than two dozen candidates in the race. Wharton received 65,491 votes and the second place finisher, Memphis Mayor Pro-Tem Myron Lowery, managed just 15,185 votes.           Wharton’s campaign was centered largely on the theme of bringing the community surrounding Memphis, including all of Shelby County, “together.”         In his victory speech last Thursday night he told supporters, “Memphis is ready to come together at last.”          Much of the campaigning and conversation throughout the somewhat brief almost two-month campaign was focused on issues relating to advantages in consolidating certain areas of city and county governments and schools, violent crime, open government and the future of the Memphis Pyramid, one of the city’s most notable structures that in the past has been the host venue for exhibitions, conventions, professional sports teams and other events and activities.          Wharton will replace Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton who resigned in July to run for Congress. Herenton held the post as mayor for 18 years.           Wharton, who graduated from Wilson County High School, a school reserved for only African-American students at a period before public schools were integrated, graduated with honors in political science from Tennessee State University, and received a law degree from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1971.           Wharton is the son of the late A.C. Wharton Sr. His mother still resides in Lebanon at the family home on Trousdale Ferry Pike. His grandfather, father and his eldest son all share or shared the initials A.C. before their last name, which Wharton says represent no names and that the letters stand independently.           Wharton and his wife Ruby, also an attorney, have three sons and have raised three other children. Growing up in Lebanon, he and his family were members of the Market Street Church of Christ.

CEO Sam Hatcher may be contacted at

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