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TN Politics: Growing Partisanship in COVID Information and Memphis Elections

Christopher Blank/WKNO-FM

When Gov. Bill Lee's administration fired a state health official this week for sending health providers legal clarification on what age teenagers in the state can consent to getting vaccines, the story made nationalheadlines.

Bending to conservative political pressure, the health department also made several additional internal policy changes, including halting all vaccine-related information designed to educate minors.

If state Republicans appear determined to control the narrative over vaccines, some Memphis Democrats are floating the idea that city elections should no longer be nonpartisan. Council member Martavius Jones says voters should know whether candidates are Democratic or Republican, which could potentially add more Democrats to the council.

Political analyst Otis Sanford says there's no benefit to city elections becoming more polarized.

Copyright 2021 WKNO

A native "Florida Man," Christopher started in this business as a copy clerk at the renowned St. Petersburg Times before persuading editors to let him write. He moved to Memphis in 2001 to cover arts and entertainment at the Commercial Appeal. Since then, he has contributed to nearly every publication in Shelby County, writing features on everything from the Civil War to Civil Rights. Also, Elvis... a lot of Elvis.