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Meet the Candidates: Frank McMeen and Tara Skinner campaign for City Council Dist. 5

Jackson City Council District 5 is one of three contested city council races in this year’s municipal election. Frank McMeen and Tara Skinner are both running for the position. The Post interviewed both candidates as they petitioned to run. Read their full interviews below:

Frank McMeen

Frank McMeen is involved in a number of different initiatives and organizations throughout the city of Jackson.

One of those organizations is the Lambuth Area Neighborhood Association, and he said it’s because of his commitment to LANA, in addition to all of Jackson, that he was the first to officially file a petition to run for a seat on Jackson City Council in May.

“I’ve lived in Jackson for a while, and I’ve lived in LANA for many years, and I can tell you our neighborhood has had quality representatives and some that were not,” McMeen said. “And when I say ‘quality’ I mean we’ve had representatives that we could go to as a neighborhood organization, express thoughts or feelings or concerns and some of our councilmen in the past would bring those concerns to the attention of the council and others would prioritize their own agenda above that of an entire neighborhood of people. 

“So when I decided to run for City Council, it wasn’t about anything specific for me. It was because I want to make sure that LANA, Midtown and all different areas in District 5 have proper representation on the Council.”

McMeen touted the diversity of the district.

“You can take any neighborhood in the district – in Midtown – and see great diversity in each one,” McMeen said. “Racially, socioeconomically, religious … there are people from all walks of life who are a part of these neighborhoods.

“And no matter the color of their skin or the faith they’re a part of – if they’re even a part of one – each and every one of us has the right to that kind of representation.”

McMeen sees plenty of opportunity in Jackson coming up.

“With my job at the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation, I get to see our local leadership at work almost every day in some way, and I know their objectives and goals and what they’re trying to do,” McMeen said. “And when you see things like Ford coming in and Georgia-Pacific and all these things, we’re about to see a lot of good things happening here.

“But everyone needs to be represented well as we prepare for everything that’s coming.”

One specific issue McMeen said he feels needs proper addressing is affordable housing.

“We don’t know how much yet, but we know we need more housing in Madison County because of the jobs that are coming this way,” McMeen said. “But not everyone will be able to afford a $300,000 or $400,000 house.

“And those people need as much representation in city government as the person bringing jobs to the region or the person who’s lived here all their lives. I love LANA. I love Midtown, and I love Jackson. I want to us them all do well.”

Tara Skinner

Tara Skinner, a local realtor, has announced her campaign for Jackson City Council, Dist. 5. She is currently serving as the city councilmember for Dist.4, after the passing of longtime Counicilmember Harvey Buchanan. 

“I knew it was going to be my turn to step up, with everything we had been through all these years,” Skinner said, “After he passed away, I said at first I didn’t want to do it. But who are we doing it for? I need to carry the torch all the way to the end, the way Harvey wanted it.”

While Skinner was appointed to serve as councilmember for Dist. 4, she is running for the newly redrawn Dist. 5 seat, which now crosses west of N. Highland Ave. 

Skinner touts her progress in community communication and inclusion, including reorganizing the neighborhood watch, visiting with the elderly, and sending out a community newsletter.

“As soon as I got in, I called a meeting at Macedonia Baptist Church. Everybody came to this meeting. It was full– packed,” Skinner said, “I said if I get on City Council, everybody is going to get an opportunity to get heard. Everybody. Whatever you want to tell me, whatever you need me to know, whatever you want to ask me. Whatever help you need, it’s open.

“My whole thing is safe, clean, quiet communities. If you have those things down pat, everything else will fall into place. A lot of the petty crimes– our cars being broken into, the fights, some of the things that made people not want to come to our community– those things have stopped.”

If elected, Skinner plans to continue that progress in her new district, including work on landlord-tenant issues and illegal dumping.

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