Harvey Johnson Jr. (D) - Mayor/Incumbent | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Harvey Johnson Jr. (D) - Mayor/Incumbent

"I love this city and the people who live here — all of the people — and I love this job. Love is about making a long-term, lifelong commitment to work tirelessly for the wellbeing of those you love — to work through the tough times and celebrate the victories together. And believe me, there have been plenty of both of those over the past seven and a half years."
— Mayor Johnson

Harvey Johnson's Campaign Web site.
The Jackson Mayor's official site.
Mayor Johnson's bio at The National Conference of Black Mayors, Inc.
Fervent anti-Johnson site: http://harveymustgo.com/

Harvey Johnson, Jr. was born in of Vicksburg, Mississippi. He is married to Kathy Ezell Johnson, and they have two adult children, Harvey, III and Sharla. He is now running for his third term as mayor, since his success in 1997. Read Johnson's full bio here.

On February 14 Johnson delivered his Re-election speech at the Union Station. It follows verbatim:

Good Afternoon!

I'm Harvey Johnson and I'm running for mayor — again!!

I am a Democrat. I am a Yellow Dog Democrat. I have worked hard for many years to elect Democrats, particularly on the local level. I had the honor of serving in a Democratic administration and just this past weekend, I had the privilege of helping to select the new National leadership of the Democratic Party — with input from many of you — as a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee. I am a Democrat out of commitment, not out of convenience!

And speaking of commitment, my wife Kathy is here today — she has shared my life for over thirty-six years. Her support of me and what I do is what makes it possible for me to do this job that I love. Thank you Kathy — I applaud you, and Sharla and Luther and Beau. You are my inspiration for wanting this city to thrive and to prosper.

And now, I'd like to wish you all a happy Valentine's Day.

We selected this day to announce for a third term intentionally — because Valentine's Day is a day when we express our love — and — I love this city and the people who live here — all of the people — and I love this job!

Love is about making a long-term, lifelong commitment to work tirelessly for the wellbeing of those you love — to work through the tough times and celebrate the victories — together. And believe me, there have been plenty of both of those over the past 7 ½ years.

Love is wanting the best for those you care about — it's about respecting them.

It's a willingness to sacrifice for the good of all — without complaint, and, in my case, it's gratitude to God for the gifts of good health, energy, a good education, and the opportunity to serve, earned at great cost by those on whose shoulders I'm standing today.

For the last 7 ½ years, I have had the opportunity to serve and to work for the people of the city of Jackson. Their support in 1997 and again in 2001 generously awarded me two four year contracts to be the mayor of this great city. In return for that support, I made a number of pledges to the citizens of Jackson.

I pledged that I would work as hard as I could to make things better. I pledged that I would make sure there was a place at the table of our civic life for all our citizens, for every point of view, especially those who had been denied being full participants, whose passion, energy, ideas, spirit, and values had been ignored for so long, but who loved their city nonetheless. I pledged to make our city safer. I pledged to make our city cleaner.

I pledged to make our city a better place for children. I pledged to make our city a more attractive place for private investment dollars to help boost our economy and create jobs. I pledged to make tough decisions, and to make sure our citizens got their money's worth for the taxes they paid for city services.

I come here today seeking to renew my contract with the citizens, and to humbly ask them to allow me to continue my leadership, hard work, planning, and consensus building for another four years, so that the city of Jackson can keep moving on the right track.

Look around this city — compare what you see now with what you saw almost eight years ago — when I first took office.

See the cranes in downtown Jackson, the revitalization of the heart of the city.

See the people who are moving into our city and back to our city — attracted by the sense of home and place, the newly energized neighborhoods, the involvement of people in improving their neighborhoods and their city.

See this new Union Station — symbolic of restoring the old when it's possible and practical — it's beautiful, isn't it? That's important to loving this city — honoring what was good in its past and helping to preserve it.

Go over to Pascagoula Street and you'll see the Telecom Center steel beams, outlining a state-of-the art training center, and soon you'll see more construction surrounding that — with the construction of the new Capital City Convention Center — made possible by the cooperation of a diverse group of people who set aside their differences to stand together and say: this is a good thing for the city we love — let us vote and we'll make the necessary sacrifices for the long term economic development for the future of this city.

That's something that couldn't have happened eight years ago — that collaboration took a lot of persistence and patience and hard work — all elements of love.

Anywhere you go in this city, you will see positive progress — indications of both public and private investment in the future. Human investment as well as monetary investment.

As a result of the City's Equal Business Opportunity Program, you see the highest rate ever of participation of minority business in city contracts. As a result of this administration's concern for workers, you see livable wages being paid on certain city contracts over $5 million. And, as a result of our commitment to organized labor, a working session will be held this week between local, regional and national representatives of the firefighters union and city representatives, and the city's first union labor agreement will be finalized in the next 30 days.

There is no doubt that our city is a safer place than it was in 1997. Crime is lower than it has been in nearly a quarter century.

The falling crime figures did not just happen. They resulted from the hard decisions that were made to change the course of our city. We brought in experts and paid them to perform a comprehensive check up on the health of the Jackson Police Department. We learned some things that hurt some of us, and we heard things some did not want to hear. But we stood up straight, and moved forward together. We made sure that we had enough boots on the ground to fight the terror of crime. We cranked up the police academy, and at the graduation of the last recruit class — the 16th under this administration — our ranks swelled to 500 uniformed officers protecting us.

But resources must be matched with resolve. We implemented a five point plan to fight crime. We have gotten our neighbors involved in policing; and our police involved in neighborhoods.

We've strengthened our relationship with other law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Attorney's Office, the U.S. Marshall's Office, the District Attorney's office, the Sheriff, and other police departments in the surrounding areas. And we have worked with the new leadership at the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, which in the last year has increased drug arrests by 70% once they took the helm.

I have never pretended to be a trained law enforcement officer and when others do, it is offensive to those men and women who have been trained to put their lives on the line to make us safe. Leadership is more than just action; it requires judgment, vision, experience, and an ability to build a consensus for action. And, in the case of crime fighting, it means respecting the men and women in uniform.

We have much left to do, but we can be proud of and must continue to build on, what we've done together.

I hope we all take comfort knowing that fewer of our neighbors, fewer of our moms and dads, our brothers and sisters, fewer of our children, will be victims of crime this year than if crime had remained at the level it was at when I first took office in 1997.

Although, overall major crime is down 21% in the city, it still concerns me greatly when I hear about any crime, especially crime that harms our most vulnerable — our children and our elders.

It's even more disheartening when a young person is involved as a perpetrator — we are working tirelessly to prevent that. That's why you need to know that over 60,000 young people are being touched by the programs of the City's Parks and Recreation Department, and why I have visited every public school in this city, some at least two times, talking about the dangers of guns and violence, and also about encouraging young people to wear their seat belts.

The Mayor's Youth Council is meeting and its members are working in their high schools and the community to enlist other young people to stay in school and volunteer to make the city stronger and safer. The Mayor's Youth Initiative works with at-risk students in their schools to improve their grades and school participation, and help them with their social skills. We're working every day with many school children to deter negative or criminal behavior; and we also encourage and acknowledge those students you don't hear about because they're doing what's right. They need to be encouraged and recognized too!

I hope you can tell that I not only love Jackson, I love talking about Jackson. But I've been reminded that this isn't a "State of the City" speech — this is my official announcement that I want to continue to be your mayor for another four years.

I've always said that I'll be your mayor as long as you want me.

Thank you for the opportunity of serving you for the past 7 ½ years. I ask you to give me the privilege to continue for another four years! My family and I ask for your continued support, your prayers and your vote on May 3rd.

Thank you!

Campaign Office
P. O. Box 9964
Jackson MS 39286
(601) 982-8866

Previous Comments


Today, Howard Dean's PAC announced that Mayor Harvey Johnson is one of the first three candidates on Democracy for America's "A-List" -- "the new group of fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates we will work to elect. It will be the clearinghouse for the most interesting, inspiring and innovative candidates in the country." This is what they said about Johnson: Harvey Johnson is a Democrat out of conviction, not convenience. The first African-American mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, Johnson has led the city for 8 years and serves as the president of the National Conference of Black Mayors. Much of his life and talents have been spent expanding economic opportunities for underserved Mississippians. His re-election this spring will keep a strong Democrat -- with a strong record -- moving Jackson forward. The other two candidates are: Andres Ramirez running for Mayor of North Las Vegas LeAnna Washington running for a Pennsylvania state Senate seat


Do you have a link for this? Sounds cool, and yay for Dean for using Jackson as a poster child for something positive. Most people I work with outside of MS have the perception that we're all Bush supporters and republicans.


Yes, and you can even blog there. Locals do forget, or don't know, that Johnson carries a great deal of cachet outside of here. That's not an endorsement, simply a fact.


Glad to see that the "Quick Facts" section of Mayor Johnson's campaign site now has a link to some UCR stats from the FBI. Note that the data is for the first six months of 2003 and 2004, not the whole years, as that data is not available yet. Jackson is on page 14. http://www.mayorharveyjohnson.com/events.html

Walker Sampson

Good to know. Thanks, Walker.


Don't miss this long thread about Harvey Johnson that started in the JFP forums back on Feb. 9. There's a lot of discussion in this one about what should be the city's highest priorities. Remember, you can start your own discussion about the elections in our forums.


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