JACKSON, Mich. — Jeromy Alexander started out as a critic of Jackson's city government. Now the current Ward 3 City Council member says he's ready to lead the city.
Alexander said a trip to Washington D.C. several years ago made him believe it was time to get involved. He ran for a seat on the council in 2017 and won.
“At that time the previous incumbent ran unopposed a few times and been in office, I think, five terms. I am a strong proponent that steel sharpens steel,” Alexander said. “I think that two candidates running against each other is good for the process. I think it makes both candidates be sharper. I remember talking to God, and I go, ‘God, you got to find someone to run against this guy,’ and I heard a voice back saying, ‘Why not you?’”
In 2019, Alexander lost to Derek Dobies in the mayoral race by 386 votes. This time around, he hopes to get over that hump he couldn’t climb two years ago. He considers it fate that he’s running for mayor again.
This year, Alexander made a "small typographical error" during the filing process to run again for his seat on the City Council. His petitions were invalidated.
“I was faced with a choice of trying to recreate those petitions in the last moment. I reached out to my fans, my supporters, and let them know what happened. I gave them my apologies. The error was my own. My supporters quickly came back and said, ‘Well, if that petition failed, why don’t we petition for mayor?’ As it turned out my supporters gathered the signatures,” Alexander said.
He would have run unopposed in Ward 3. This opened the door for Caleb Blondke and Angelita Velasco Gunn to run for his soon-to-be-vacant seat. Alexander says his constituents will be in good hands with either of those two candidates.
“I would rather be in a contested race than be put away in a corner where I can grow old and fat,” Alexander said.
Alexander acknowledges some issues he would like to see taken care of including the city’s infrastructure. He says the city is built for 60,000 people but the current population is half of that number.
“We still have a $25 million per year roads problem,” Alexander said. “Until we figure out how we’re going to solve that either through creating more taxes, which I’m not in favor of, or the best way I think is to realize how great Jackson is and start telling others how great Jackson is so we can get 30,000 people to move into Jackson. I think taxes are a whole lot easier when you have twice as many people sharing that load with you. Then we can actually realistically get our maintenance numbers up where they need to be.”
He says he doesn’t have any big promises if he were to become mayor.
“I don’t have an agenda. I don’t have a laundry list of things I want to get done. I want to listen to Jackson. I want to listen to my fellow council members. I believe that leadership is about being a servant to others. I don’t want this position because I know all the right answers. I want to be in this position so I can help us find these right answers,” Alexander said. “I believe the best answers can come from anyone."
He considers this opportunity a job interview.
“I have had this job on City Council for four years. I’ve taken those four years and I have applied myself to learn as much as I can about how Jackson actually works, how our government actually works. Now I can take this experience and apply it again for your benefit. So when we have these discussions about what we can do with our water and roads we can filter and qualify these things so we can talk about actual, plausible ideas,” Alexander said.
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