The stage has been set for a June 5th mayoral showdown in Jackson.
City voters supported Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr., a Democrat, in last Tuesday’s primary, and Republican candidate Daryl Neely, a city councilman and former Democrat. Johnson received about 60% of the vote, while Neely had about 55%.
This will be the first time that two African-American candidates representing the two major political parties will face one another in a Jackson mayor’s race. History aside, there are a number of issues important to the city’s business community that we hope will be addressed during the next few weeks of campaigning.
Perhaps the greatest challenge Jackson faces is crime. Despite the boasts that crime is down in the Capital City, almost anyone living or working here has been affected by criminal activity. Auto theft, assault, break-ins are all too frequently discussed around the ol’ office water cooler.
For most folks, the reality is that Jackson is a dangerous city. And for most of the rest of us, it’s certainly the perception.
In addition to crime, a lack of leadership in City Hall has dampened the business climate in Jackson. While the allegations, indictments, convictions and resignations seen in recent years are serious, it is often the everyday behavior and comments of the city’s leadership that is most troubling. That behavior, often boorish and irritating, is what many people think about when Jackson is mentioned.
Crime, lack of leadership and a general malaise have made economic development in Jackson a challenging task. And that’s unfortunate, because in spite of these problems, the city has enough assets and bright individuals to make Mississippi’s Capital City a great place to work and to live — again.
It is our hope that Jackson’s 2001 municipal elections, for mayor and city council, will be a turning point in the downward spiral the city is on right now.