JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies will not run for a third term.
Dobies has spent a decade in the Jackson politics scene. He was part of the Human Relations Commission and later elected to the City Council representing the 6th Ward, a position he would hold from 2011 to 2017.
His work on the city's non-discrimination ordinance, which prohibits discrimination against the LGBTQ community, led to his recall. That's when he shifted gears.
"I never expected to run for City Council. I never expected to run for mayor. I decided not to run for mayor until I got recalled for the non-discrimination ordinance. I chose to lean in to the fight and to fight for the city," Dobies said. "What I felt was the direction we needed to head and it turns out people felt the same by putting me in this office."
Dobies, 35, says he's ready to give the mayoral seat to somebody who better reflects the Jackson community, suggesting Daniel Mahoney who is the District 7 Jackson County commissioner and president of the Jackson NAACP branch.
"If he runs he has my support," Dobies said. "I think that will have a lasting impact to the young boys and girls across our community looking up to the highest office in the city and seeing someone that looks like them."
Mahoney said the call from Dobies shocked him as he was getting ready to back the mayor for a third term. He said he was honored that he was named as a potential replacement.
"It's not totally off the plate for me," Mahoney said. "It's definitely something I need to talk over with my family. I would be excited to do it. I love this community. I was born and raised here. It's something I'm considering for sure especially with his help."
Dobies says, given the conversations surrounding the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, his departure as mayor can have a role in encouraging more diversity in city leadership.
"When I look around all of the pictures of the mayors hanging up around the council chambers they're all people that look like me," Dobies said. "We've had a handful of female mayors in our city's history but we haven't had a person of color be mayor."
In the March state of the city address, Mayor Dobies described his policies as progressive. The recently passed fair chance housing ordinance will allow those who have been incarcerated to have more of an opportunity for housing.
"The creation of the MLK Corridor Authority, putting together the equity commission and hiring a diversity, equity, and inclusion officer. I think he just made very wise decisions in the space of equity and inclusion that has been very transformational so far for the city," Mahoney said.
Mahoney says he believes the city is on an upward trajectory but there is still more work to be done.
Dobies said he's unsure what his next chapter holds.
Will he run for another public office?
"Not right now," Dobies said. "I'm focused on the pandemic, helping people and businesses get back on their feet, getting shots in arms, working with the Protect Michigan Commission, and there's a lot of policy I want to get done here between now and December."
The local election will be held on Nov. 2. The new city council and mayor will be sworn in on Dec. 1.
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