Raumesh Akbari sees Memphis as a city on the brink. As the Tennessee state representative from Shelby County describes it, the city has a rich history and culture but in recent years has been more defined by its high poverty and crime rates. “Right now, Memphis is on the verge of success or failure,” she says. “I want to be in any position where I can help move my city forward.”
When Lois M. DeBerry, the longest-serving member of the Tennessee House, died in 2013, Akbari ran to fill the vacant seat. She won, and has established herself as a prominent voice on economic development efforts -- including the Community Resurgence Job Tax Credit, a measure she championed that provides a $2,500 tax credit to businesses that create 10 full-time jobs in low-income areas.
Thanks to her impressive two years in the state House, Akbari was awarded the State Legislative Leaders Foundation Lois M. DeBerry Scholarship to participate in the Governing Institute’s Women in Government Leadership Program. “She is bright, poised and dedicated to public service,” says the foundation’s president Stephen Lakis. “Raumesh will be inspired by her peers from across the nation as they will most assuredly be inspired by her exceptional qualities of leadership.”