OPINION: The office of mayor of the City of Jackson attracts candidates early

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More than a year ahead of the next scheduled municipal election, at least six individuals have publicly announced their intention to run for the office of mayor of the City of Jackson. 

The incumbent, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, let it be known in his state of the city address that there were problems he plans to solve and matters he plans to tackle in a subsequent term as mayor. 

Since announcing his intention to run for another term as Jackson’s mayor, others announced their interest in this office. Among these potential candidates are: local attorney Delano Funches, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Tim Henderson, Department of Revenue finance analyst Corinthian Sanders Jr., radio talk show host Kim Wade, and former mayor of Edwards Marcus Wallace. 

There are sure to be others joining the mayoral race as the filing deadline approaches. According to the City Clerk’s Office, official filings for the mayoral election will begin in January 2025.

The candidates mentioned above are merely aspirants wanting their names in the spotlight. There are rumors of others who have either expressed a desire to run or are being urged by others to run. Among these are: Angelique Lee, Aaron Banks, Kenneth Stokes, John Horhn, and Leroy Walker. Some of them may announce and run. 

At this point, the announcements made public become news because these candidates want their names out early. On the one hand, this could give them the advantages of early organizing and early fund-raising. On the other hand, it means that they can be questioned and scrutinized longer and perhaps more closely. 

This writer urges citizens to begin monitoring and questioning the candidates on a broad range of issues relating to the office of mayor of Jackson. Certainly, voters want to know how long the candidate has lived in Jackson, his/her education and professional training, his/her marital status and family composition, and his/her social and professional affiliations.

However, there must be more mayoral specific questions asked by voters and answered by all candidates. 

 Examples of the kinds of questions that must be asked and answered are:

(1) What is your understanding of the major drivers of crime in Jackson? 

(2) What experiences have you had in crime reduction and what recommendations will you support to reduce crime in Jackson? 

 (3) What specific measures and policies will you support and implement to significantly increase Jackson’s revenue and tax base? 

(4) In addition to the work of JXN Water, what specific plans will you advocate to comprehensively improve streets, water, and sewage? 

(5) In what ways will you initiate strategies to protect city assets and resources such as the municipal airport, the water and sewage systems, and policing? 

(6) What policies and strategies will you initiate to minimize conflicts with state officials, especially those who are in opposing political parties? 

(7) What specific approaches will you advance to accelerate economic development and the moving of more residents from poverty and low-income status to financial security? 

(8) What specific programs and policies will you initiate to rescue and resuscitate city entities such as the zoo, the public libraries, and public parks? 

(9) What will you do to reverse the flight of businesses and middle-and upper-income residents from Jackson? 

(10) What efforts will you undertake to maximize racial harmony and eliminate divisiveness? 

(11) How will you assemble a team of competent and committed city employees to carry out your specific plans to improve the city?

These are the kind of questions and concerns that should be on the minds and guide the actions of the men and women who would serve as Jackson’s mayor in and after 2025. As responses are provided by the candidates, voters should take note of who is sincere and truthful in the answers provided, who is reluctant to be specific and candid in their answers, and who is catering to particular segments of the city or set of political and economic bosses. 

Having a long period of time before the election also gives citizens the time and opportunity to see who remains consistent, who wavers, and who is independent in his/her thinking, and who “borrows” from the other candidates.

As the city of Jackson continues to attract numerous candidates to the office of mayor, it is important that citizens select the best from among the best, enabling the city to resurrect itself and reach new heights of glory. It can be done, but requires that no group gets “sold down the river” and that in July 2025, no candidate sells us any “wooden nickels.” 

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OPINION: The office of mayor of the City of Jackson attracts candidates early

By Dr. Ivory Phillips
June 17, 2024