Tag Archives: broker

Profile of a ‘Power Broker:’ Mark Norris

The Commercial Appeal has a profile story on Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, “arguably the most powerful legislator west of Nashville.”
This farmer-lawyer-legislator has come a long way to reach his current perch of power. From the night his wife cried herself to sleep when he asked what she thought about him going into politics. From his fight over a developer’s plans to build a golf course across from his tranquil farm that gave birth to his political career. And from those prickly days on the Shelby County Commission when former Mayor Jim Rout was ready to give him a one-way ticket to Nashville.
Though as Senate majority leader Norris carries the governor’s legislative agenda, he sees himself as more of a technician, the one who figures out how to get from point A to point C. And while he understands the significance of the school legislation, it isn’t what he’d point to as the bill he’s most proud of. That would be the effort he led to amend the state constitution to provide tax relief to senior citizens. Or maybe the designation of Tennessee’s “west coast” as a national scenic byway. Then there’s Electrolux, Mitsubishi.The Republican super majority — with Norris leading the charge — may have given unprecedented power in the state legislature to Shelby County suburbs for the first time. Critics contend his tactics have been unfair to the city of Memphis and have changed the rules of the game.
He sees things differently.
“I consider myself to be a Shelby Countian, a Memphian,” he said. “I live in Collierville’s reserve. I don’t live in any municipality. I have a Collierville mailing address. But since 1980, my office has been downtown. My wife’s family’s business has been downtown. I think I have more of a sense of community than a sense of suburbia or that kind of thing.”