Chokwe A. Lumumba announced his candidacy this afternoon, promising a campaign focused on “the people’s platform."
Photo by Imani Khayyam.
JACKSON Promising to build on the work of his father, Chokwe A. Lumumba announced his second mayoral bid this afternoon to more than a hundred supporters gathered on the steps in green space by City Hall.
“Under the direction of my father, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, we were able to lay a successful foundation; now it is our responsibility to build the house,” Lumumba said.
Before his speech, supporters chanted the popular mantra of the first Lumumba, “Free the Land,” reminiscent of the grassroots campaign that put his father into office.
“We must restore the vision of the people’s platform,” Lumumba said. “The people of Jackson don’t need leadership that believes it is better than you; you need leadership that understands it is a part of you.”
Lumumba addressed what he said was a tension between the current administration and the public.
“It is my fundamental belief that the citizens of Jackson must be a part of the election process of their officials,” Lumumba said. “But they must remain at the table as they determine what these city officials must do; I will provide a transformative style of leadership that seeks to invite the people back into the process. That is why when I become mayor, you become mayor.”
And as the City faces a dwindling budget, furloughs and imminent departmental cuts, Lumumba capitalized on the compounding situation.
“Today we find ourselves confronted with very real threats. We face the great challenge of a crumbling infrastructure, furloughed employees, the regionalization of our water system, the illegal takeover of our city’s airports, and a city’s budget that is completely out of whack,” Lumumba said.
“It is for these very reasons that I have decided to announce my candidacy for the City of Jackson. And with my candidacy I offer the citizens of Jackson not just a Lumumba administration but a people’s administration. An administration which will set forth a progressive agenda to dismantle a top-heavy financial structure so that we can pay the City employees and treat them with dignity and respect.”
Lumumba promised openness in the contract-awarding process, referring to the large contracts the City awarded recently for the Environmental Protection Agency-mandated consent decree and the corrosion control study, as well as questions concerning the particular uses of the 1 percent sales tax money,
“In this administration we will open up the contract bidding process so that others can receive a bite at the apple. We will renew our commitment to rebuild the city’s infrastructure, create jobs, improve our educational system and provide holistic solutions to crime.”
So far, the only other candidate to publicly emerge in the race has been Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham.
Email city reporter Tim Summers, Jr. at [email protected] See more local news at jfp.ms/localnews.