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  • Posted January 28, 2013 by
    Memphis, Tennessee
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    Copyright Credits to CNN iReporter Nicholas Pegues 2013.

    Interview with Michael “Mike Harris” by Nicholas Pegues

    • Who is Mike Harris?

    o I am a native Memphian and graduate of Bishop Byrne Middle and High School. I served in the United States Navy and I’m currently attending the University of Memphis majoring in Organizational Leadership. I am employed with First Horizon National Corporation as a Business Continuity Relationship Manager.

    o I am a graduating member of the Shelby County Citizen’s University. In my faith community, I serve as the Youth Director at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, and a member of the Whitehaven Council of the Knights of Columbus. I am a former member of the Technology Program Advisory Committee at Vatterott Career College. I am currently serving as board president for the Colors of Gospel Community Choir, treasurer of the Bruce Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, and as a member of the Shelby County Government Retirement Board.

    o At First Horizon I serve as a mentor in the Corporate Mentoring Program, chairman of the Alliance (an LGBT and allies employee resource group), co-chairman of the Working Parents Group, co-coordinator of the Bowl-a-thon benefiting Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South and secretary of the Diversity Networking Association.

    • Are you a Republican or Pegues Republican?

    o Honestly, I can’t say that I’m either. For most of my life I have identified with the Republican Party, but some just call me an Independent. I support most conservative policies and ideologies, however on some I tend to be rather moderate or even somewhat liberal. I definitely support the Constitution of the United States of America and the Bill of Rights. I believe the government should be fiscally conservative - to ensure and promote continuity and a lack of dependency. I support a strong national defense - while acknowledging the value of maintaining strong international relations and striving for peace around the world. I believe in smaller government vs. the federal beaucracy. I am a strong supporter individual rights. I don’t feel the government should have the right to pry into the personal affairs of it’s citizens. I am personally pro-life, but from a government perspective, I feel abortion is a personal decision between a woman and her physician. I sincerely advocate of all forms of diversity, equality and inclusion of all Americans.

    • Would you ever run for office?

    o I definitely plan to run for office, however at this time my priorities are centered around providing for and nurturing my family, continuing to grow in my career and faith, and to learn as much as possible about why our city and county are the way that they are today. In the future, I do see myself running for a seat on the city council or county commission, or maybe even running for mayor. I have to first check with my wife.
    • What made you think about running for Mayor?

    o Primarily, we live in a society in dire need of change. It’s time that we come together and act with maturity and civility while operating our government as efficiently as the everyday citizens are expected to do. The best way for us to achieve success is through finding that common ground among the issues important to the constituency, and eradicating all divisive obstacles. Above all, elected officials represent the people. The decisions made should not only be great for today but sustainable and fair for tomorrow’s generation!”
    o Secondly, we must create a new way of doing and being supportive of businesses both large and small. This doesn’t mean to only offer breaks and incentives to bring businesses into our area. It means that we must remain committed to building positive relationships with them and maintaining lower tax rates. This is how we will continue to grow economically.
    o Thirdly, we have to make education a top priority. As a community, we should all be committed to ensuring our youth become the highest performers and display the true talents that Memphis and Shelby County have to offer. Higher expectations, mentoring and opportunities for youth development are key necessities.
    o Lastly, we have to address our issue regarding crime. The city of Memphis has several landmarks to be and remain an international tourism destination. We have both mature and newly developed communities. Our museums, parks, restaurants and nightlife are definitely unique. All of these great attributes are what makes Memphis and Shelby County a great place to live, work, and play. However, no one should have to attempt to enjoy these activities in fear. It is time that we enforce our laws and make criminals accept personal responsibility. We have to stop the violence, but that doesn’t mean collecting all of the guns. That merely means holding criminals accountable for their actions and better educating the youth for prevention.

    • How has my service inspired you?

    o The service you’ve provided thus far showed me that I was not alone, in the under 30 Minority male conservative fight, and for that I’m greatly appreciative.

    • How do you think my service has improved Memphis and how can I improve?

    o You somehow get interviews with all of the right people. You attend not only political events, but cultural events around the city, county and state. Your reports have the potential to open doors and lead people down avenues they may have never known existed. All is well, and I think you should continue being a great ambassador for the City of Memphis and Shelby County, TN.

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