It’s been nearly two years since Chokwe Antar Lumumba took the seat once held by his father, Jackson’s mayor believes he’s accomplished a lot in that time, but insists there’s much work to be done.
Byron Brown sat down with the mayor to get his thoughts on the first half of his term in office.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba will celebrate two years in office in July. He says there are a lot of issues the public can’t see that he’s had to deal with and fix in the first half of his term.
Rewind to July 2017, Jackson was in financial crisis, city employees were on furlough and city leaders were dealing with a budget shortfall.
“I greeted a city that had a 6 million dollar deficit, we were able to turn that into a 12 million dollar surplus in a years time. We had city employees on furlough, we were able to end that furlough, a school district under the threat of state take over, we were able to reach an agreement with the governor,” said Mayor Lumumba.
The mayor says they were also trying to get some systems in place and the right people in positions.
“There are people who have a long history of success that have joined us here in the city. We’ve fine tuned things since we’ve been in office but we’re rolling, we’re excited about the direction that we’re going in.”
On fighting crime the city is short on crime fighters, but Lumumba says, “We haven’t had a police recruiting class prior to this year when we had our first in three years,” he continues. “Most cities of our size have multiple classes within one year and so there’s a high turnover in law enforcement not only in Jackson but throughout the nation.”
What’s the mayor’s message to the citizens of Jackson?
“You have a city that’s turned a corner, it’s not the city that you ultimately deserve, that’s why I say I’m not satisfied yet, I don’t know that I’ll ever be satisfied but we’re going to continue to push, we’re going to continue to gain you’ll see that we’re in a better state tomorrow than we were the days previous.”
This summer the mayor says will be busy for the city with many projects.