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Outgoing Jackson Mayor Points to Infrastructure and Crime as Next Mayor’s Top Tasks

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 30 May 2013 07:23am | comments
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Hess/MPB News

Tuesday's election will determine who will be the new mayor of Jackson. The next mayor will face a city with aging infrastructure and violent crime. Outgoing Mayor Harvey Johnson says the city is poised for progress.


Mayor Harvey Johnson is using the final days of his third term as Mayor of Jackson to point out what he considers his accomplishments towards improving Mississippi's capital city. 


During his final state of the city address yesterday, Johnson laid out a laundry list of accomplishments such as hiring more cops and 350 public works projects...but he also used the speech to call for Mississippians to rally in support of Jackson.


"Let’s stand up for Midtown and Downtown and Georgetown, and Verden Addition, and Lake Trace and Sub #2 and Highway 80 and Bellhaven, Fondron and Valley North! Time to stand up I say! Let's stand up," Johnson told the crowd.


Johnson lost a re-election bid in the city's Democratic primary.


That race and the run off that followed was marked by a heated debate, harsh ads and an election that split the city down a stark racial line.


City Councilman Chockwe Lumumba eventually won with broad support of the city's black community.


Lumumba, who attended the speech and is expected to win next week's mayoral election, says he is confident that he can bridge any gap.


"I know we can motivate people. And I know we can motivate people to build Jackson. And that is what we are going to do. We are going to motivate people to build Jackson. And I definitely agree with what he said that we are in an excellent position to move," Lumumba said.


Some have expressed concern that Lumumba's activist past could drive white residents and businesses away from Jackson,


Susan Lunardini runs a engineering firm in Lumumba's council ward in Jackson.


She says too had concerns about his background.


"I went to him before he was ever elected councilman and asked him if the fact that I was a white female owned business if that would affect anything. And he said absolutely not. And it has never effected his vote," Lunardini said.


According to the most recent census, Jackson did see its population grew compared to the previous year...something that has not happened to the city in decades.



Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Hess/MPB News



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