Live from Music Row, Monday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed conservative mayoral candidate for Jackson Tennessee, Ray Condray to the newsmaker line to talk about his top priorities if elected.
Leahy: On the newsmaker line right now, Ray Condray. Ray is an automotive retail executive who is running for mayor of the city of Jackson. Good morning, Ray. Thanks for joining us.
Condray: Good morning. Good to be on the show this morning.
Leahy: The city of Jackson is about two-thirds of the way from Nashville to Memphis, right along Highway 40. It’s in Madison County. How big is the city of Jackson Ray?
Condray: Jackson is almost 70,000. I think we’re right at 69,000 right now in the last census. And yes, it’s part of Madison County.
Leahy: How big is Madison County?
Condray: I think combined is over 100,000. I don’t know the exact number on the county, but we’re definitely growing. We’re right there, like you said, on Interstate 40 between Memphis and Nashville. And then we’ve got highway 45 that runs north and south, right through the middle of us. That goes all the way from, I believe, New Orleans all the way to Chicago. So we’re kind of the crossroads of the south here in Jackson, Tennessee.
Leahy: There was an election for the mayor of Madison County back in August and AJ Massey won that election. He’s the mayor of the county. You’re running for mayor of the city.
There is an incumbent there, Scott Conger. And he won last, last time with 63 percent of the vote. I guess his family, he’s the third person in his family to be mayor of Jackson, Tennessee.
Condray: Yes my parents moved when I was about 12 years old to Madison County and his grandfather was the mayor, I believe from 1967 to 1989. And then I think even if you go back a few more generations, there was another great-great-grandfather, somewhere along those lines back in the 1800s. He has been the mayor since the prior election, I believe, of 2019. And he has served one term and we’re gonna run against him in the upcoming election for mayor.
Leahy: So he’s the incumbent. I think you’re one of about seven or eight candidates running. Why are you running and what would you do differently than Scott Conger?
Condray: There are six people that have pulled and filed their petitions to run. And out of those six, it’s an interesting dynamic in the Jackson city election because it is nonpartisan and unlike the county election, I am the only one on the ticket that is a true conservative. I believe that we will bring some dignity to that office.
Our goal, when we’re in there will be to bring back some wholesomeness to the city, the family values that I grew up with growing up in Jackson. And that’s what we’ll work to accomplish.
And Jackson is a, is a great city. We want to make sure that we continue to be that way and continue to make it a good, clean, safe environment to raise our families for future generations to come.
Leahy: And let me just correct myself on your last name. It’s Condray. Ray Condray. And the website is Raycondray.com. What is it that you would do differently than Mayor Scott
Condray: That’s a broad question. There are a lot of answers to that. So the first thing that I would do is just make sure that every department has all of the resources they need to be as effective and efficient as they could be. I’ve talked to a lot of the employees of our fire department and our police department, and one of the struggles that we have is we’re understaffed in those areas.
And so I’ll do everything within my power to make sure we provide them with the funds and with the staffing and with the resources that they need to be effective in their jobs. I back the blue. I think that we should do everything possible to do that. And a couple of other things that would do is make sure that our city is as clean as it possibly can be.
I believe that a clean, beautiful city is like a welcome sign to a healthy city. And I think we should take pride in our city and how it looks. And so I’m committed not only to just cleaning up our city but also to keeping it clean. And we’ll make sure that this is a place where as we grow, people will want to live here in Jackson. That property values will continue to be high.
And we’ve seen this bubble, so to speak, property values over the past few years. We’ve just really seen it increase and we want to keep it that way so that the residents of Jackson, if they decide to sell, that their property values stay high and those that are coming in.
And to make sure that we accommodate the growth for what’s gonna happen here. I guess you’ve probably heard about this. Blue Oval City is coming to West Tennessee and we’ve gotta be prepared for that.
Leahy: Now, let me ask you a question in terms of the form of government. Is the mayor of Jackson, population 70,000, is that a full-time gig or do you have a city manager there, and a city council?
Condray: It is a full-time position and we do have a city council. And there are a lot of races that are going on across the city in the city council, and we’ve got some really good people in the races as well.
Leahy: How, how big is the city council in Jackson?
Condray: It’s got nine members on it.
Leahy: What’s the salary of the mayor?
Condray: That’s a good question. I’ve gotten some different answers to that. I understand that there was an increase in, in the salary that, it’s a six-digit, um, salary and it’s been increased a little bit over the last few years.
Leahy: So a little over 100,000 to be mayor. It’s not a mayor/city manager. The mayor is running the city.
Condray: My understanding there is also there are a lot of city employees. There is a city manager currently right now working with the mayor. Jackson’s a good, a good-sized city and it’s gonna take a lot of good, talented people working together that share the same values.
And that’s one of the things that prompted me into the race is we saw some things happening in Jackson that really were concerning and the current administration was going to allow these things to happen.
Leahy: What are those things that are concerning?
Condray: We found out that there was going to be a drag queen show in a city park labeled as ‘family-friendly’ for children of all ages.
Leahy: Another drag queen show. (Chuckles) It’s illegal now to have, have kids attend those.
Condray: And it’s really interesting how that sprung out of Jackson. We’ve got an incredible state representative in the 73rd district here, Chris Todd.
Leahy: Chris Todd. I know him well.
Condray: Yes, sir; yes, sir – and he has done a great job of representing the conservative wholesome values that have made this area a fantastic place to live. When we found out this was happening, I had the opportunity a few years ago to be involved in the grassroots conservative constitutionalist group, and we found out about this. We sprung into action. We started making phone calls and sending emails, and I actually reached out to the mayor myself and messaged him.
Leahy: What did he say to you?
Condray: He told me that there was nothing that he could do about it. But if they change the venue or cancel this or pull them out that they would sue the city and it would be a burden on the taxpayers of the city to have to fight that. What we did is we filed an injunction. A lot of people signed this.
And with Chris Todd taking a lead on it we were able to take it to a chancery judge. And he ruled that this should not be in a city park in front of children and that it must be in a closed venue. It must be for adults 18 and older only. And they must abide by the laws that are currently on the books of the ordinances of the city and we won.
We got that out of the city park and into a closed venue. And since that time, Chris Todd has realized that there is some wording in the law that was maybe a little vague and needed some clarification on definitions and that’s what has been in the news lately that it was taken before the House, they voted on it, came up with a bill that Governor Lee signed that now has outlawed the shows.
Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:
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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Ray Condray” by Ray Condray. Background Photo “Family” by Andre Jackson.