By Bill Short
Aldermen Thomas McGhee and Don Lowry are both unopposed for new terms in the Nov. 3 Millington city elections.
McGhee earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in management at Park University. He is a graduate of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute in Cocoa Beach, Fla., and is certified as a master training specialist and Navy facilitator, mediator and conflict resolution professional.
He previously served as pastor of Little John Missionary Baptist Church and campus pastor of Bellevue Frayser.
He is vice president of Jordan’s Lighthouse Ministries and a member of the Impact Ministries Leadership team.
McGhee is also first vice commander of American Legion Post 252, a member of the Millington Airport Authority and the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce.
He and his wife Mary have four children and four grandchildren.
Initially elected in 2012 when he defeated then-Position 5 Alderman Brett Morgan, McGhee was re-elected in 2016 by defeating Don Holsinger.
Lowry, a 1983 graduate of Memphis State University with a degree in business management, is managing partner of Smith Investments Commodore Villages.
He is a former member of the Millington Lions Club and Jaycees, as well as the Millington Regional Airport Authority, where he served as its chairman from 2008-13. He has been a member of the U.S. Navy League since 1992.
As a member of the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce since 1980, Lowry served as its president in 1998 and was the recipient of its Person of the Year Award that same year.
He is a graduate of the 1998 Leadership Millington Class and The University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service Elected Officials Academy in 2005.
As a member of the First United Methodist Church in Millington, he has served as chairman of its Finance and Staff Parish committees.
Lowry is a new member of the Millington 20, a support group for Millington Central High School.
He and his wife Diane have four children and nine grandchildren.
Initially elected as Position 3 alderman in 2000 and re-elected in 2004 and 2008, Lowry was defeated in 2012 by Frankie Dakin.
He was elected in 2016 to the open Position 6 seat then occupied by Chris Ford, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor.
McGhee and Lowry recently responded to the following questions prepared and distributed by The Millington Star:
- What suggestions will you make to the newly re-elected mayor regarding ordinances or resolutions to be passed or amended?
McGhee said he will propose a resolution to formally create a “round-up” option for Millington water customers.
He noted that the option would be similar to the one used by Memphis Light, Gas & Water. It would allow customers to “pay it forward,” assisting those in need with paying their bill.
McGhee said he will also propose a resolution that would require sanitation customers to purchase or rent a second garbage can when they meet certain criteria.
Lowry said ordinances, regulations, new codes and zoning need to be finalized regarding development and revitalization around the “Old Town” and Navy Road areas.
- List three significant issues in this election.
McGhee cited consistency in leadership, continuation of efforts to grow the city’s tax base and the need to improve communication between City Hall and the residents.
Lowry listed flood control, controlling “crime leakage” from the surrounding larger municipalities and preparing the water and sewer infrastructure for potential city growth.
- Specifically, how do you plan to deal with each of these issues after you are re-elected?
McGhee said the board is “working cooperatively” with the Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Development Board and Millington Airport to “attract and enhance” business and residential developers.
While noting that the city has worked to remove several “blighted” properties, McGhee said he will continue his efforts to have some of the “obviously abandoned” properties cleared for demolition.
He also said he will work with other elected officials to prepare the city and its infrastructure for the “growth spurt” that it is poised to experience.
“I would welcome the opportunity to conduct focus group (Town Hall) discussions when we return to pre-COVID-type meetings,” he noted.
Lowry said that, during the next few years, Millington will be full of “orange cones and barrels” as county, state and federal funds are used for road, bridge, sidewalk and curb repairs.
He acknowledged that coordinating these projects will be “burdensome” to city officials, who will need patience from the residents.
“We must continue to work with our city officials to make sure we don’t hinder the completion of these projects,” Lowry said. “But we must all be thinking outside the box and for the future to make sure these projects are completed in a timely manner, and the dollars are spent wisely.”
- What do you think is the biggest concern facing the city at this time?
McGhee cited the need to eliminate conflicts of interest and distrust by asking and answering questions or concerns with transparency and stakeholder “buy-in.”
Lowry said using the Resiliency Project to help prevent future flooding in Millington.
Citing the age of the city’s North Water Plant, he said construction of a new plant is planned for the “immediate future.”
But he acknowledged that county, state and federal guidelines, which slow the process, must be followed as that project proceeds.