JFP Q&A: Ward 6 candidate Shabaka K. Harrison (Democrat) | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

JFP Q&A: Ward 6 candidate Shabaka K. Harrison (Democrat)


Shabaka K. Harrison (pictured), 28, is running for the open Ward 6 city council seat in 2017 to replace retiring Councilman Tyrone Hendrix. Photo courtesy Shabaka K. Harrison

Shabaka K. Harrison, 28, is running for the open Ward 6 city council seat in 2017 to replace retiring Councilman Tyrone Hendrix.

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. His answers to the JFP candidate questionnaire are published below, verbatim.

Name: Shabaka K. Harrison 

Age: 28

Job and Employer: MS Children's Museum Customer Service

College(s) and degrees: N/A

High school: Forest Hill High School

Spouse (if applicable): N/A

Children's names and age (optional): None

Previous political office? None

1.Why does your ward/district need you specifically right now?

I worked with the previous Councilman for Ward 6, Tyrone Hendrix on things to get done. When I saw a problem I was able to inform him about it and it was done. I want to continue that great work. I've been sitting on the sidelines for too long. I want to provide ideas and policies to help the young people in this Ward and the city as well. 

2.Provide one or two examples of when you have been an advocate for your district/ward in your personal or professional life. What was the result?

I campaigned to get Hendrix elected. I attended a lot of community forums Councilman Hendrix had in regarding to the charter schools and fixing the streets.

3.In the past year or so, what was the most important vote in council affecting your district/ward. How would you have voted and why? 

The Sieman's contract. I would've voted no based on the lawsuit the City of Meridian had against them dealing with the same issue.

4.What are the top three most pressing issues for your district/ward? Please provide potential solutions.

Education, Crime, and our streets. My potential solution for each actually has something to do with the next. The cause of poor education effects the crime rate which effects businesses coming and staying in my ward and city which leads to low tax revenue where we can't get our streets fixed. We can't expect for big businesses to come here and hire poorly educated kids. We have to get the community back to being involved in the public education system. My solution is to create an organization that can get the community involved and keep kids enthusiastic about their education. That way we can slow down crime and bring tax revenue in to fix our streets.

5.If you could propose one ordinance that would greatly improve the quality of life for people your district/ward, what would it be?

We can create as many ordinances as we need but in the end it's a waste of time I believe. Let's get our focus off what we believe can work, and put out focus on what we know can work. Ordinances do not work.

6.Too many young people in Jackson end up as suspects or victims of violent crime. What are your specific ideas to assist with city crime prevention that do not involve the police directly?

It brings me back to my answer on the pressing issues because it is a pressing issue. Get the community back involved in the education system and keep our kids enthusiastic about their education. Working at the MS Children's Museum has opened my eyes to ways to better their education. Specifically I want to use the same ideas I've seen done there for children in JPS and make it broader for every kid in every grade. 

7.Provide three examples of what you believe are the most critical improvements needed in the entire City of Jackson.

We need to help out our kids in this education system. The state of Mississippi has provided more problems than solutions. As I've stated already, if we  improve this critical example, then everything will fall into place to be improved in the long run. We have to grab the bull by the horns. 

8.What needs to happen to improve the city’s infrastructure?   

Bring in more tax revenue to fix the crumbling over a century old infrastructure. In order for that to happen we have to take the steps I've stated before to get to this point. Also we need the state of Mississippi to trust us in handling our own money. The 1% sales tax was a great idea but the city needs to delegate what to do with the revenue from it rather than the commission. 

9.What experiences qualify you for this position? -I'm a third generation Jacksonian.

Both of my parents were born and raised in the Washington Addition community. My grandmother had two businesses on Dalton St by Jackson State known as "Catchings Corner." As a young man that ran for this Council seat before, as I've grown to love this Ward more than before, my passion regarding my community and the public education of the kids in the community is enough experience I need.

10.What do you think needs to happen to improve public education in Jackson?

Get the community more involved in organizations that will keep the kids enthusiastic about their education. We should be pouring out better educated kids into the world so that they can refill the jug back up with more kids.  

11.What do you about the One Lake project? Please detail any concerns.

It is a great idea. Flooding is major concern for a lot of areas in Jackson. Any solution will be welcomed by me. My only concern, is handing a contract over to a company and problems persists with that company. 

12.How can city council and the mayoral administration improve its relationship?

It starts off with each and everyone respecting each other and respecting their opinions. Nothing or nobody should be rushed through being confirmed without a clear through long discussion. It's an open forum for ideas and it will be some things that we will agree on and some things we won't. We should still respect each other.

Support our reporting -- Follow the MFP.