One of the things that stood out to me in my colleague Bill Dries’ exit interview with Mayor Wharton is the mayor’s assessment of his political legacy, which Wharton views as the civic pride that’s swept through the city in recent years.
“I would think it’s the intangible of how we changed the attitude of Memphis as we see ourselves, and we also changed the way the larger outside world sees us,” Wharton said. “We were kind of down on ourselves. … We were starting to believe that stuff. We weathered the recession. We had a recession of the spirit about the same time we had an economic recession, and that’s a bad condition.”
Five years ago, when he was still settling in at City Hall, the mayor gave me some insight into what the above quote means.
In this piece I wrote back in 2010, we got a look at the mayor as a sort of one-man chamber of commerce. I caught up with him after he’d just come back from New York City and met with the chairman and CEO of Sharp Electronics Corp., which Wharton was helping encourage to keep Memphis on its radar.
A flurry of out of town trips to Washington and elsewhere followed. And this is what the mayor told me back then, harkening to the pride he was trying to help foment in Memphis, particularly in the business community here:
“I’m coming up on my 40th (wedding) anniversary,” Wharton said. “I don’t take roses home as often as I did. But you’ve got to take something home. Don’t take anything for granted. With our existing employers, it’s like a marriage that’s gotten some age to it. ‘Oh, we’ve got them here, they aren’t going anywhere.’ But there’s people bringing them roses, perfume and sweet music every day. I want to start taking them roses, perfume and sweet music. Whether it’s to southeast Shelby County or Southeast Asia, we’re going to be there.”
This is really cool.
From Kaiser Family Foundation, a tool to find the number of people by zip code (or roughly by zip code … read the fine print) who signed up for Obamacare through the exchanges in 2014 and 2015.
For example, in zip code 38103:
2015: 5,300 people signed up out of 12,800 potential enrollees. (42%)
2014: 3,600 people signed up out of 13,300 potential enrollees. (27%)
And in a world where hard facts on Obamacare are so difficult to find — given the politics and complexity of the issue — Kaiser has all kinds of interesting data. For instance, while Tennessee premiums are up 38%, they’re up “only” 1.5% after tax credits are factored in.
In conjunction with Bill Dries’ Memphis News cover story and precinct breakdown, here are some prettified, interactive statistics from the 2015 Memphis mayoral race, based on the Shelby County Election Commission’s unaudited data.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, 231,440 Tennesseans enrolled in or renewed coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace as of February 22.
The agency also says that even though open enrollment has ended, there’s a new time-limited special enrollment period for this year’s tax-filing season.
Between March 15 and April 30, uninsured Tennesseans who are subject to the fine for not having health coverage because they didn’t understand how it would affect them have another chance to enroll in a plan for 2015. Families or individuals who meet certain income requirements or other circumstances may also qualify for low cost coverage through Tennessee’s TennCare program, which has year-round enrollment.
For question about health coverage or to schedule a free appointment with an enrollment assister, visit www.getcoveredtenn.org or call the hotline at (844) 644-5443.
Click here to view/download your sample ballot.
Early voting is underway through Oct. 30 in advance of the Nov. 4 election day. Here is the sample ballot from the Shelby County Election Commission for you to mark with your choices and use when you vote. (You are going to vote, aren’t you?)
Here are a few more things you need to know:
• WHAT: A few highlights from this year’s ballot: the races for governor, U.S. Senate and House; four state Constitutional amendments; and, depending on where you live, wine in grocery stores (Memphis, Arlington, Bartlett, Collierville, Germantown and Millington) or liquor by the drink (Lakeland).
• WHEN: Mondays-Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 30
• WHERE: 21 polling sites across Shelby County (view the list here). You can vote at any of the 21 locations, no matter where you live.
• WHAT YOU NEED: State or federal photo ID – driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.
Want even more info? Check out the Shelby County Election Commission website at ShelbyVote.com. And follow @tdnpols for early voting updates, election night returns, and all the other political news you need to know.