Candidate Profile: Harvey Johnson Jr. | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Candidate Profile: Harvey Johnson Jr.

Age: 67

Experience: Three-term mayor of Jackson; Assistant Professor, Jackson State University

Family: Kathy (wife); Harvey III (son); and Sharla (daughter)

Age: 67 Experience: Three-term mayor of Jackson; Assistant Professor, Jackson State University Family: Kathy (wife); Harvey III (son); and Sharla (daughter) Photo by Trip Burns.

2009 JFP Interview with Harvey Johnson Jr.

The JFP interviewed Harvey Johnson Jr. during his campaign to return to the mayor's office after Frank Melton.

The first African American mayor Jackson voters ever selected, Harvey Johnson Jr. likes to say that although Jackson said no to electing him twice, people said yes to his leadership three times.

This time around, the 67-year-old Johnson, who says he does a corresponding number pushups each morning, says he is not running as a change agent.

"Everybody always wants change because change is part of our everyday existence. The issue is the management of change," Johnson said.

It's his nuts-and-bolts management experience that Johnson is offering as his top asset. Aware of criticism that progress looked slow during his tenure in the office, Johnson defends his economic-development record by pointing to $660 million in building permits shepherded under his administration, the repaving of more than 200 miles worth of streets and getting the ball rolling on the redevelopment of Farish Street, the Iron Horse Grill, the new Whole Foods at Highland Plaza and Metrocenter.

However, Jackson's streets are still bad enough to remain a top campaign issue, and Farish Street is mired in court battles. Given another shot at the office, Johnson wants to finalize a convention-center hotel deal, help Jackson State University develop a stadium venue and implement the "One Lake" plan for flood reduction and development.

"I know that we can't maintain the status quo in the city of Jackson. I've never run on a status quo platform," Johnson said.

"What the voters need to decide is if they change the leadership, is that going to bring about the kind of change in the quality of life, service delivery, safety, economic development. I'm suggesting to them it does not," Johnson added.

Johnson is a Vicksburg native and attended Tennessee State University and earned a master's degree from the University of Cincinnati.

Read Johnson's 2013 JFP Interview and listen to the full audio of his endorsement interview.


Harvey Johnson Jr. Mayoral Interview 2014

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justjess 6 years, 3 months ago

This was a great interview! One would think that there would be fewer challengers based on the fact that the Mayor or a city has to be more than a popularity contest or one who tends to make people feel good.

The one question I am hearing during these debates is "What will you do to carry out Mayor Lumumba's plan for the city. Let's be honest: The only two plans we were able to witness was 1. The 1% tax increase that the citizens of Jackson will not have anything near a fair voting procedure. The Commission has 7 votes out of a total of ten. The Council has 3. This is "Taxation Without Representation." This is akin to a "Master - Slave" situation. 2. The other thing was Mayor Lumumba raising the water and sewer bill by 108%. I have lived in Jackson over 45 years and never have I witnessed any bill raised that high at any one time.

There is an old "Negro Spiritual" called: **Let the Work I've Done - Speak for Me. I am assigning this old spiritual to former Mayor Harvey Johnson. The words are so fitting and appropriate!

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