2020 Election Watch: August 6 Primaries
We’re back again with more August Primaries! Last Tuesday, a sweeping 17 RFS candidates won their elections in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Arizona, making history in the process.
Today, we’re back with eight more RFS candidates, all running for office in Tennessee. The candidates running in today’s elections have the potential to change the narrative on electoral politics in the state and usher in a new wave of progressive leaders. From school boards to state legislator, our ability to uplift and empower young, diverse talent, determines the agenda for millions of people over the next four years.
Take a look at the eight candidates on the ballot today below — and if you are a Tennessee voter heading to the polls, make sure you follow COVID-19 guidelines and stay safe.
Memphis/Shelby County Board of Education, District 5
April is a champion for youth empowerment, civic engagement, and educational equity. She is a Memphis native, a two-time graduate of Christian Brothers University, having been awarded with a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Education. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She is active in her church and community and takes delight in spending time with her husband, Adam, and her friends and family members. Throughout her undergraduate, graduate, and professional career, she has demonstrated a long- standing commitment to the advancement of education. April has served and advocated for the educational needs of our community’s children for the past 10 years as a teacher, tutor, and volunteer at various schools in Shelby County. She also served on the NAACP Youth Council as a high school student.
Although April’s service and advocacy for our city’s children began during her college tenure, her passion for education and social justice began during her childhood, when she witnessed the difficulty her parents faced when they had to “shop around” for schools that were best able to foster her academic development. This is why April is running for the District 5 seat on the Shelby County School Board; she is running to advocate for overworked teachers, for schools to have access to excellent facilities, and for transparency and accountability on our board. She is running so that one day parents will not have to “shop around” for quality education for their children.
Shelby County School Board, District 5
Sheleah Harris is an active candidate running for Shelby County School Board District 5 in Memphis, Tennessee.
With more than 10 years of experience, Sheleah Harris has a professional background in secondary education, local government affairs, community engagement, and marketing. Fueled by her strong desire to restructure broken images of youth in our society, she has consistently aligned herself with opportunities to implement strategies for academic, social, and economic success for others. Sheleah is driven to improve “Equity and Access for ALL students” in Shelby County. She is a servant leader who has been relentless in her pursuit to create environments that cultivate an attitude of excellence within communities and neighborhoods throughout Shelby County.
She is the founder and executive director of Living Grace, Inc. a non-profit organization that advocates and serves youth identified as homeless in Memphis. In addition, Sheleah also works as a manager of State and Local Government Affairs for a Fortune 500 company. In her role, she listens, learns and leads in the charge for innovation by collaborating with community stakeholders and legislatures to drive equity and access throughout the city.
Sheleah is running to improve the school board’s legislative agenda process, engage students, teachers and administrators in decision-making, cultivate relationships across education and government to increase collective impact, expand conversations on postsecondary pathways and career and technical education certifications and build educational environments of excellence.
State House, District 84
Dominique, a native Memphian, is running to bring power back to Tennessee’s 84th District. Dominique is one of Memphis’ most committed community servants and local problem-solvers. She has dedicated her adult life to improving the lives of Tennessee’s children, women, and working-class families.
She is running on a platform of fully funding public schools, expanding Medicaid and making healthcare more accessible, and advocating for safer communities through common sense gun laws and better collaboration between law enforcement and local communities.
Russelle Ann Bradbury
Metropolitan Nashville Board of Public Education, District 9
Russelle is a Nashville parent of three public school students nine and under, a public school volunteer leader, former public school educator, and K-12 public school graduate — she is heavily invested in public education. As candidate for the District 9 seat on Nashville’s Metropolitan Board of Public Education, Russelle brings 15+ years of professional nonprofit experience and a reputation as a creative, compassionate and candid, solutions-based, community team builder.
Russelle values inclusion, diversity and constituent voices. Her campaign is reflection of the way Russelle will represent constituents — she is running an all-in, transparent, independent, non-partisan, innovative, and grassroots campaign. To validate her voice as fresh, collaborative, and resourceful without debts owed to established voices, Russelle has capped individual political contributions to $100 (1/16th of the Nashville limit). She believes strongly that with collaboration, creativity, kindness and intention we can prioritize Nashville’s public education for the children. It is time for a change, and Russelle Ann Bradbury is on board.
Shelby County Schools Board of Education, District 4, TN
While growing up in Memphis, TN, in the Orange Mound community, Tamarques learned that education would be the gateway to a better life. Tamarques is running for Shelby County School Board because he will be the advocate that understands innovative education, technical education, trauma-sensitive learning, and is not beholden to special interest groups that often support school boards.
Tamarques knows the importance of education, community, and having positive male role models in our children’s life. Tamarques wants to help shape our children’s future by improving the literacy gap, teacher administration pay, and the school culture and the classroom learning environment.
State House, District 90
Torrey Harris is a Human Resources Leader within local government and a small business owner. When elected he will bring extensive knowledge and leadership experience to the seat, while fighting for public education, building a stronger workforce, advocating for women’s choices, improving gun control laws, supporting Medicaid expansion, and the equal rights of all people in Tennessee.
He serves on the board of one of the state’s largest reproductive health organizations, is an executive member of Shelby County Young Democrats, and a known youth mentor in the community. He promises to bring real democratic values: to listen, empower and serve Tennessee.
State House, District 97
Gabby Salinas is a scientist, healthcare advocate, and three-time cancer survivor running for Tennessee House District 97. Gabby immigrated to Tennessee twenty-three years ago to be treated for cancer at St. Jude. It was while going through cancer therapy that she fell in love with science.
She earned a BS in Biochemistry from Christian Brothers University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. Gabby is running in 2020 to fight for better healthcare, fair wages, and fully-funded public schools for all Tennesseans. Gabby is on a mission to give back to a community that gave her a chance at life.
State House, District 15
Matthew Park, a former EMT and Outdoor Education instructor, is running to improve the health and lives of everyday Tennesseans. He was raised in a working class family and saw first hand what lack of healthcare coverage and access does to a community.
In his professional career, Matthew is a business and technology consultant focusing on using technology to make healthcare cheaper and more accessible. He is fighting to expand healthcare coverage and access, improve our criminal justice system, and create a more equitable government and culture.