Francis P. Smith Jr., pastor of Total Praise and Worship on Cedar Lane in south Jackson, has qualified for the race to be the next mayor of Jackson, information from the city clerk's office shows.
Smith competed as an Independent in the June 2013 general election for mayor, which late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba won in a landslide.
http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2013/mar/20/pastor-and-politician/">In an interview leading up to that contest, Smith told the Jackson Free Press: "I'm running for mayor, simply, to bring Jackson out of the slum, out of the abyss, out of the pits of hell."
Smith served as the Housing and Rehabilitation Manager for the city from 2002 through 2011 under Harvey Johnson Jr.'s administration and, later, the Frank Melton administration.
The JFP reported last year:
In that position, Smith supervised the Housing and Rehabilitation staff as they enforced city codes, executed community improvement projects, assured recipients spent Community Development Block Grants funds properly, and assisted elderly and disabled citizens with housing needs, such as roofing, electrical, plumbing and foundational repairs.
Smith is just the third candidate to officially qualify for the April 8 nonpartisan contest to replace Lumumba, who died late last month.