JACKSON, Mich. — Fixing the roads, stopping gun violence and curbing sewer and water rates are some of the key priorities in John Wilson’s campaign to become Jackson’s next mayor.
The former Department of Corrections employee said street gangs are responsible for ongoing and increasing numbers of shootings in the city and that they should be held accountable.
There have been 27 people injured in shootings so far this year in the city of Jackson.
“Through the rule of law with an arrest, a charge, a prosecution and a conviction,” Wilson said. ”If found guilty, then jail. Once in jail, rehabilitation programs can begin and once released those offenders should always be given a second chance to prove they can be law abiding citizens and productive members of our community.”
Mayor Derek Dobies and the City Council recently allocated $1.5 million towards the Group Violence Intervention program. That program would call on a social worker and a program coordinator to work with the police department to curb violence.
Wilson believes spending that money on a program is a waste.
“These programs do not do anything to reduce violent crimes,” he said.
“I’m not in favor of hiring social workers to work with the police. I’m in favor of hiring more police,” he said. “Intervention with our youth starts at home. We have intervention programs available to our youth, our young adults, our adults. Whether it’s through the parks and recreation department, out of City Hall, or whether it’s through the YMCA those are intervention programs that should matter most.”
He plans to propose allocating money to hire more police officers after meeting with the Jackson Police Department and the Jackson County Office of the Sheriff.
“Each have told me during our meetings that more police officers are needed,” he said.
“Once we do have more police officers on the streets those police officers can go into the neighborhoods and develop relationships with those citizens. That builds trust. Once you have that trust with the police and once you have more enforcement on the streets you will see a decrease in violent crimes,” he said.
His other campaign promise is to hold City Hall accountable for fixing streets.
“Many of our neighborhood streets are still in deplorable conditions. For too long now homeowners have been overcharged with street assessments to have their street fixed,” he said. “It’s not the fault of those homeowners, those residents who live on the streets, that their streets are in the condition they are in. It’s also not the fault of our city workers who work on the streets. It’s the fault of the neglect of City Hall who did not maintain our streets.”
He said past and present administrations have had misplaced spending priorities.
“We have a new, shiny, fun downtown," he said. "I enjoy downtown. It’s fun to visit but that downtown cost a lot of money. That money was taken from major street funds, our sewer and water enterprise funds, local street funds and just from the general fund."
He cited the Hotel Hayes, which has sat vacant for more than a decade, as an example of misplaced spending.
“The city has spent millions of dollars to maintain while finding a developer,” he said. “So, far we have not found a developer...If a developer does come forward and proposes a plan of action to rehabilitate the Hayes Hotel then that developer as far as I’m concerned should be given the Hayes Hotel free of charge.”
He plans on proposing a rollback of the most recent 12 percent water rate increase and hopes to freeze water and sewer rates for the next two years.
Wilson said he wasn’t planning on throwing his hat into the ring when he overheard an interview from Derek Dobies endorsing Daniel Mahoney.
“After listening to that interview and hearing my opponents say that he would be following in the footsteps of Mayor Dobies that is when I decided to go to the city clerk’s office and pick up petitions and went out and got the petition signed to be placed on the ballot,” Wilson said.
He says he will be a candidate for the people.
“The citizens need a fighter. They have not had a fighter and that’s why I have previously run for office always advocating for the responsible the hard working, the law abiding and retired citizens of the city,” he said.
The one promise he would like to make to the residents of Jackson?
“My open door policy would be walking through the open doors of city residents at businesses to discuss those matters that matter most to the them. As mayor, I will stress the importance of a high school education, a job and good citizenship. Each along with taking care of our most vulnerable citizens, we’ll make Jackson a much better place for everyone,” Wilson said.
Wilson previously ran for District Eight County Commission in 2012, 2014, 2018 and 2020 and for mayor in 2013 and 2015.
“Each time that I have ran, I’ve always was in it to win it just as I am with this. Those times that I have run and come up with short with the votes I was still humbled and I respected each and every voter’s choice on who they vote for, and as I will for next Tuesday. If I do receive the majority of votes from the citizens of Jackson I will be honored and humbled to serve as their next mayor.”
The general election is Tuesday, Nov. 2.
To see where you can vote at click here.
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