Raumesh Akbari

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Raumesh Akbari
Member of the Tennessee House of Representatives
from the 91st district
In office
November 2013-present
Preceded by Lois DeBerry
Chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators
In office
February 2017-Present
Preceded by Brenda Gilmore
Personal details
Born Raumesh Aleza Akbari
Political party Democratic
Residence Memphis, Tennessee
Alma mater Washington University
Saint Louis University School of Law
Occupation Attorney

Raumesh Akbari (ruh-MESH ack-BERRY) is an American politician and member of the Tennessee House of Representatives for the 91st district, which encompasses part of Shelby County.[1] She currently serves as a member of the Criminal Justice Committee, Education-Administration and Planning Committee, and the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.[2] She is a member of the Democratic Party.

Akbari was first elected on November 21, 2013, during a special election to fill the seat which was left vacant by the death of Representative Lois DeBerry.[3]


Akbari, who has a twin sister named Raumina, is the daughter of two trichologists.[4] Akbari is a 2002 graduate of Cordova High School in Memphis, TN. She attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri where she graduated in 2006 with a BA in African American studies and a minor in political science. In 2009 Akbari received her Juris Doctorate from St. Louis University School of Law. She currently handles legal affairs and human resources for Akbari Corp—a small business founded by her parents in 1981.[5]

Akbari is a member of the American Bar Association, Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association, Memphis Bar Association, Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity, NAACP, Memphis Urban League Young Professionals and the Democratic Party of Shelby County. She also actively volunteers with Meals on Wheels through the Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association and is a member of the Memphis "Voter Registration and Community Organization, Inc.[2]"

Akbari worships at New Hope Baptist Church.[5]

In 2015, Akbari was elected by her peers to serve Tennessee as the state co-director of Women in Government, a national non-profit, non-partisan organization of female state legislators.[6] In 2017 selected by the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators to serve as that organization's[7] Chair. Akbari currently serves as the Treasurer of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, the Financial Secretary of the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, and as a co-chair of the Interbranch Affairs Committee for the Council of State Government.

Public Service[edit]

In early 2014, Shelby County Schools announced a plan to close 13 campuses in southwest and northwest Memphis, including Alcy Elementary.[8] A "Save-Alcy" group was formed by Akbari and other parent and community volunteers with the goal of keeping Alcy Elementary open. After a month of negations, the board reversed its decision to close the Alcy campus citing the more than 60 community leaders who stepped-up and committed to volunteer at least three hours at the elementary school each week. For her efforts, Akbari was hailed as a "champion of a school rarely in the limelight.[9]"

Akbari has also worked to restore historic local grave sites, including those at Mount Caramel and Hollywood cemeteries which were previously inaccessible due to overgrowth.[10]


Following a 2014 incident at the Galilee Cemetery in Memphis, Akbari sponsored legislation to streamline burial practices, allowing families to know where a loved one is buried.[11]

Akbari has advocated for the expansion of Tennessee's Medicaid program, as well as a state-level law that would ensure women receive equal pay for equal work.[12]

Honors & Awards[edit]

Electoral History[edit]

Tennessee House of Representatives Election 2014[17]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Raumesh Akbari 8,053 81.93
Republican Samuel A. Arthur Watkins 1,777 18.07
Tennessee House of Representatives Primary Election 2014[18]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Raumesh Akbari 3,964 55.74
Democratic Doris DeBerry-Bradshaw 3,147 44.26
Tennessee House of Representatives Special Election 2013[19]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Raumesh Akbari 3,087 89
Independent James Tomaski 369 11
Tennessee House of Representatives Special Primary Election 2013[20]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Raumesh Akbari 502 28
Democratic Terica Lamb 399 22
Democratic Kemba Ford 355 20
Democratic Joshua Forbes 261 14
Democratic Clifford Lewis 134 08
Democratic Doris DeBerry-Bradshaw 111 06
Democratic Kermit Moore 47 02


  1. ^ http://www.capitol.tn.gov/districtmaps/Housedist91.pdf
  2. ^ a b c "Representatives - TN General Assembly". www.capitol.tn.gov. 
  3. ^ "Akbari Takes District 91 Democratic Primary". 
  4. ^ Stockard, Sam (6 May 2016). "Akbari Proving to be Worthy Successor to Iconic DeBerry". Memphis Daily News. Retrieved 27 July 2016. 
  5. ^ a b http://www.akbari91.com/about-representative-akbari.html
  6. ^ "Gilmore & Akbari elected to leadership role with Women In Government - Nashville PRIDE, Inc". pridepublishinggroup.com. 
  7. ^ http://tsdmemphis.com/news/2017/feb/08/tennessee-black-caucus-state-legislators-elect-lea/
  8. ^ http://www.scsk12.org/uf/standard/ckeditor/samples/ckfinder/userfiles/files/2014/news/2014-15%20School%20Closures.pdf
  9. ^ http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/alcy-elementary-in-memphis-has-happy-ending-in-closing-story-ep-355954519-326001831.html
  10. ^ Anthony, Kontji. "Citizens fixing neglected cemetery". 
  11. ^ "State Lawmaker Considering Tougher Penalties For Cemetery Owners". 29 January 2014. 
  12. ^ "Get to know Raumesh Akbari". www.tndemocrats.com. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. 
  13. ^ Alley, Richard. "20". Memphis Flyer. 
  14. ^ https://www.slcatlanta.org/CALS/pubs/CALS%20Newsletter%20Winter%202015.pdf
  15. ^ Baker, Jackson. "Rep. Akbari Selected for Canadian Tour as a "Rising State Leader"". 
  16. ^ "Akbari Picked to Attend for 'Emerging Leaders Program' - TNReport". 28 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "Elections - Tennessee Secretary of State" (PDF). tn.gov. 
  18. ^ "Elections - Tennessee Secretary of State" (PDF). tn.gov. 
  19. ^ "Raumesh Akbari wins House District 91 special election". 22 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Akbari Wins Democratic State House Primary". 

External links[edit]

Tennessee House of Representatives
Preceded by
Lois DeBerry
Tennessee State Representative, 91st District
Succeeded by