JACKSON, Mich. — Jackson County Commissioner Daniel Mahoney says he's ready to become Jackson’s next mayor.
“Prior to that I was just a concerned citizen. I am just very passionate about this community,” Mahoney said.
Public safety, infrastructure and government transparency are key issues in his campaign, he said, adding that public safety for him means working with police to see their needs.
“We have to support our law enforcement in as many ways as possible, making sure that they have the resources that they need whether that be if they need additional officers or additional resources like refreshed equipment, new cars whatever that may be that they need to be able to do the job,” he said.
He is in favor of the Group Violence Intervention program.
“I think the other end of the candle that we have to burn is proactive measures," he said, "one of which is the Group Violence Intervention program. That, not Dobies, but the chief of police himself presented to the city of Jackson. He studied that program and looked for proactive programming for many years ever since 2016."
Mayor Derek Dobies and the City Council recently allocated $1.5 million towards the Group Violence Intervention program. That program would have a social worker and a program coordinator working with the police department to curb violence.
Mahoney wants to expand on it
“I think we have to look at proactive ways of being able to get them into some type of stable job and work environment, get them some mental health support and other things that they may need to prevent them from going to that life of crime," he said. "I think that is something that has to be worked from both angles or else we’re going to see a continuous and growing issue that we’ve been seeing over time.”
Mahoney also stands behind recent water and sewer rate increases, saying they went up for a reason.
“Instead of talking about how much has been raised what the cost of the rates being raised is and talking about freezing water rates and saving you some money, let’s talk about do you want clean drinking water? Do you want safe, clean drinking water? If the answer is yes, then you want your lead service lines replaced. It’s that simple,” he said.
He says one of his best abilities is being able to break down jargon to make it easy for the residents to understand what is going on.
“You have to be able to be able to translate what the issues are at the city desk, at that mayor’s desk into layman’s terms, so that they can understand the problems that we’re facing and the real options that we have at addressing those problems,” he said.
And he wants residents to hold him accountable.
“If I say I’m going to help and be at the table to reduce gun violence in this community, hold me accountable. If I say that I’m going to work on getting the roads in our neighborhoods repaired, hold me accountable to it,” he said.
If elected mayor, he wants to look immediately at how to expand a youth work program.
“That’s one of the first things that I want to see because like I said, I want us to immediately be able to impact and address the gun violence issue that’s in this community,” he said.
Even though Dobies recommended that Mahoney run for his seat this year and has publicly endorsed him, and Mahoney said it isn’t fair to say he’ll be a clone of Dobies, though they share some of the same values.
“I’m my own person. I’m not running to be an extension of Derek Dobies. I’m running because I believe that I have a vision that will help take Jackson to the next level that it needs to go,” he said.
Experience and understanding with how local government works and being able to develop relationships with the community are the two biggest reasons why he is running, he said.
“I think I’m going to be a groundbreaking mayor with a huge vision and someone who can unite this community instead of continued division that we’ve seen over the last 18 to 24 months between county politics and city politics and the racial divide that has happened in the community and abroad in general. I think I can be a sound and solid place of unity, understanding a lot of different aspects of people,” he said.
The Facebook group Informed Citizens of Jackson recently attacked Mahoney’s track record of attending meetings saying he has missed 54 committee meetings and board study sessions during his time in office. Mahoney says that’s not fair.
“If your only strike against me is my absences, you can have that,” he said. “I’m a man with five children, with a wife, with a mother and a father and several elderly family members who have passed in the last seven years...I still showed up at the most important place which is that board meeting. That is the most important place to show up at.”
He has served as a commissioner for seven years in Jackson’s District 7. He has grown frustrated over party line politics within the county.
“I think there’s too much party line politics at the county level and it’s unfortunate because it doesn’t do anything but hurt the citizens of this community when decisions are made on a party line basis, because we should be making decisions for what’s best for the community of Jackson," he said.
He takes pride in having helped to make the American 1 Events Center a reality.
“I’ve been an advocate and behind that project since day one since the fairground master plan happened and we first started building a new event center. That’s one huge thing that I’m proud of that happened because we needed that space,” he said.
As well as the development of the youth employment program with Michigan Works.
“I wanted to create a youth employment program because I know the effect that it had on my life as a youth coming up and being able to have a job and have the ability to make a few dollars and learn some skill sets,” he said. “That still helped me today. And being able to provide those same opportunities for some of the kids in the community that we have now knowing the situation that a lot of them are in.”
If he is elected as mayor he wants people to know he considers that position as one of servitude.
“I would be looking to be a servant leader because I think the only way to be an effective and a good leader to be a servant to the community. I don’t have any self-interest or further aspirations of moving from here to somewhere else. This isn’t a stepping stone. For me, this is the community I grew up in. I was born and raised here. I plan to stay here for the rest of my life. I just want to impact this place in a positive light," he said.
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