Tag Archives: Harold Ford

Harold Ford Sr. moves to memorialize cremation

Harold Ford Sr., 70, a former congressman and patriarch of a once powerful Memphis political organization, is the focus of a Commercial Appeal business article on modernization of the cremation industry.

The Ford family has been in the funeral business for decades and a factor in Memphis Democratic politics for almost as long. Other once politically prominent members of the family include Harold Ford Jr., who followed his father in the Memphis-anchored 9th Congressional District seat and lost a close U.S. Senate race to Republican Bob Corker in 2006, and the senior Ford’s brother, John Ford, who served many years in the state Senate before being convicted on bribery charges.

Excerpt from the cremation story:

From floor to ceiling in the indoor columbarium that Ford has started in a former shopping center on Sycamore View, thousands of “niches” with glass or granite fronts are ready to hold urns containing cremated remains. He called it an above-ground, indoor cemetery.

His Serenity Columbarium and Memorial Garden also displays a high-technology future for the industry.

An unseen camera in each niche lining the columbarium by mid-January will allow viewing an urn remotely with a smartphone app. Funerals are supported with flat-screen displays, cameras and information technology capable of Internet streaming. Mourners can view computer-controlled cremations following a service.

“Where we are is where the industry is going,” Ford said. “Half of all Americans now are being cremated and there’s been no place in America to memorialize the ashes of your loved ones for generations to come.”

…In 2014, the median cost in the region including Tennessee for a full funeral and cremation was about $6,000, according to the National Funeral Directors Association. That compares with about $7,125 for a full funeral and burial, or about $8,435 including a cemetery vault.

On top of costs for normal cremation, Ford said that his columbarium niches start at $2,695 for those closed with granite at the bottom of an indoor wall and climb to $4,500 or more for glass-fronted ones in sizes ranging from single to “family estates.”

“When people buy these it’s their property, just like the registered deed to the cemetery you get,” he said. “This is forever, a one-time fee only.”

“When people buy these it’s their property, just like the registered deed to the cemetery you get,” he said. “This is forever, a one-time fee only.”

The indoor columbarium now holds about 4,000 niches and is planned to hold 300,000, he said. In a park-like setting on the 23-acre grounds, an outdoor columbarium is ultimately planned to expand to 54,000 niches. Above-ground crypts for caskets also will multiply, he said.

Ford said the company that started with Memphis in 2013 plans to expand to the Chicago area, Houston and Atlanta. While living in Miami, Houston and New York he said he sees the trend toward cremation even at the family’s traditional N.J. Ford and Sons Funeral Home in Memphis and among virtually all religions.

Harold Ford III’ s dad mentioned as New York City mayor prospect

Former Democratic Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who followed his father in a Memphis-based U.S. House seat and lost to Republican Bob Corker in the 2006 Tennessee U.S. Senate race, is being mentioned as a possible future candidate for New York City mayor, according to Bloomberg News.

Ford is currently a senior client relationship manager at Morgan Stanley. Asked about the possibility of a run for mayor, Ford dodged, saying he’s focused on being a father. His second child, son Harold Eugene Ford III, was born May 17. The report, more or less a society column story, is focused on a Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts event. Excerpt:

Ford, a member of the Lincoln Center board since October 2010, helped the performing arts center in New York raise $1.6 million.

… At Morgan Stanley, Ford said he spends half of his time on the institutional side, half on wealth management. He coordinates between the investment bank and the private bank.

“In this new world we live in, in which government has placed a big number of regulations on banks, we have to be sure to deliver every part of our services to every client we have,” Ford said.

John Mack, former chairman and chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley, said he’d just spent a full day with Ford in Denver, where they conducted a fireside chat for private wealth clients.

“As we start into the political season, I think everyone wants to have kind of an insider’s view and he clearly has that,” Mack said. “And what I like about him is, he’s so balanced, he’s not far right or far left. I would love for him to run. I won’t tell you what I’d like him to run for.”

Mayor was on the lips of some guests, though not Ford’s. Asked about his interest in leading the city, Ford, who once considered a run for a U.S. Senate seat from New York and has endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, said “I’m a new father for the second time, that’s what I’m focused on.”

Hat tip: Kyle Veazey.

Harold Ford Jr. explains why voters love Common Core

Under the headline “Why voters love Common Core,” former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. writes for the Daily Beast that one of the most striking lessons from the midterm elections was “the clear message voters sent about education standards: don’t abandon them,”

An excerpt:

Given the intense discussion around the country over Common Core Standards, one may have expected an undoing of a lot of what’s going on in states. After all, opponents of Common Core spent this past election season distorting and misrepresenting the progress going on in the classroom. But, voters, many of them parents, listened to both sides of the debate and ultimately voted for candidates who supported level-headed policy. In fact, November’s results show parents want to continue with implementation of high standards and the results they promise.

… Interestingly, some of the opponents—many of whom I believe are genuinely confused about Common Core’s development and purpose—assailed the standards as too difficult, not difficult enough, or as a federal takeover of local education. They couldn’t decide. Fortunately, on November 4 a majority of parents decided it’s hard to deny success in the classroom.

And to be sure, classrooms are seeing measurable improvements under Common Core Standards.

For example, in Tennessee—one of the earliest adopters of the Common Core Standards—college-readiness rates among high school students saw the biggest improvement this year since the state began testing. And last year, 4th and 8th grade students showed the biggest math and reading gains in the country.

“The hard work of teachers to implement higher academic standards is having an impact,” said Kevin Huffman, Tennessee’s outgoing education commissioner. “We’re starting to see the upward trend.”

Here are some more takeaways from Election Day. In only four states—Arizona, Colorado, New York and Pennsylvania—did the Common Core Standards emerge as a major issue, and in three of those races the most supportive candidates won. Twelve incumbent governors who publicly support Common Core easily won re-election. And, in the 44 states where Common Core is used, only 6 governors and 4 superintendents said they wanted to change course on Common Core.

The opponents of Common Core may be louder than supporters, but the big gains achieved by students are what counted in voters’ minds when they went to the polls. To believe the narrative advanced by Common Core opponents is easy—because they enjoy headline momentum—but simply wrong.

Ford Back to Being a Pundit

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr. returned to his job as an MSNBC pundit on Tuesday, one day after announcing he wouldn’t run for U.S. Senate in New York, and said he would have won the primary but worried that the intraparty battle would have emboldened Republicans.
Ford, who represented a Tennessee district in the U.S. House, had been publicly exploring a possible Democratic primary challenge in New York, but announced Monday night in a New York Times op-ed that he wouldn’t run. He said Tuesday on MSNBC that he hopes “another opportunity presents itself.”
Ford said he doesn’t want to divide the party and risk strengthening the Republicans’ chance to take Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s seat. She was appointed last year when Hillary Rodham Clinton became U.S. secretary of state.
“It would have been a close, tough, tough fight,” he said Tuesday. “The last thing I wanted to see was for this seat to go Republican.”
Ford moved to New York after losing the 2006 U.S. Senate race in Tennessee, taking a job with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He had spent the past seven weeks traveling the state and meeting with voters, Democratic dignitaries and elected officials to gauge support for a potential campaign.

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