Time to Faceoff


    By Thomas Sellers Jr.

    Alderman candidates set to debate July 9 at Bethlehem MB Church

    The members of the Jones-Phillips Civic Club are teaming up with local newspaper The Millington Star to sponsor the 2012 Aldermen Face-Off Debate.

    The two longtime entities are providing a forum for all 15 Millington Aldermen candidates to come together to discuss issues affecting the city of Millington and surrounding areas. Jones-Phillips has extending invitations to the candidates to meet on July 9 at 6 p.m. at Bethlehem MB Church located at 8801 Bethuel Road.

    Since the civic club was organized in the early 1970s, Jones-Phillips has brought several community leaders to the church like Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and former Millington Mayor Richard Hodges. “We’re a community, civic organization that was organized to promote goodwill throughout the community,” founding member Mary Jones said. Along with meeting political leaders, Jones-Phillips has operated on the principle of promoting the Edmund-Orgill area and enriching the surrounding communities.

    The civic club has donated hand washing equipment and sanitizers to schools, given out groceries to the needy and visited the sick. Jones-Phillips was instrumental in getting the county to hook up the water system in the Edmund-Orgill area.

    Now Jones-Phillips is taking a part in helping residents elect the next Board of Aldermen. With some assistance from The Millington Star staff, the format for Monday night’s event was established.

    The Star has sponsored several debates over the years including the recent 2012 Millington Mayoral Debate. Just like the Mayoral Debate, the Aldermen Face-Off will feature topics submitted by residents.

    Jones-Phillips reached out to the community for question ideas through Facebook and The Star. Moderator Rev. Fred Bailey will present four topics for 20-minute discussions involving all the candidates.

    “We want to get them all together is to see where they really stand,” Jones-Phillips President Joe Houston said.

    Houston is working with longtime members like Jones and new members like Marquis Craig on organizing the Alderman Face-Off Debate. Jones-Phillips Vice President Marva Malone said the election to be held Aug. 2 really hits home with the Edmund Orgill community.

    “We’re about to be annex,” she noted. “If we’re going to be annex, we need to know who is in position to do what. And what is their standing and what are they going to do for our community. Once we’re annexed, what are they going to do for ‘we the people.’”

    Craig said all the communities surrounding Millington need to know who will be in charge of the city and the resources they will have.

    “We want information,” Houston said. “Information is power. If you know what they’re doing, if you know what’s going on, you’re ahead of the ball. If you don’t, you’re sitting there lagging. And you don’t know anything. We want to be on the cutting edge of whatever is happening.”

    After Aug. 2, Millington will have at least two new aldermen with Keith Barger and Jimmy Pike not seeking reelection.  The five incumbents face opposition from positions three to seven.

    “You’re trying to get elected and you need the exposure,” Houston’s message to the candidates. “Not only just the people in the city are effected but we work, bank and eat just like they do here. We want them to show up to see who we are.”

    Jones said for decades Jones-Phillips has reached out to the community. She would like to see the community reach back on July 9 with all the candidates coming up in front of a large crowd to discuss the future of the city and surrounding areas.

    “Unity,” she concluded. “We’ve got to have some unity in order to keep things going as they should. That’s a civic responsibility of all of us no matter who you are.”

    For more information on the Alderman Face-Off Debate and Jones-Phillips, e-mailjonesphillipscivicclub@gmail.com, visit Facebook (Jones-Phillips Civic Club) or call 831-8139.