Turn Down the Politics

With nearly two weeks before the Jackson City Council special election to replace former Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Weill (who left to serve as a Hinds County judge), candidate Quentin Whitwell was just as surprised as we were to find out attorney and activist L. Patricia Ice had jumped into the race. Immediately after she filed her paperwork, Whitwell began to challenge her signatures. Ice fired back in a press statement Tuesday afternoon saying: "I hope my opponent will spend as much time debating the issues as he has trying to keep me off the ballot. To be honest, I think people are tired of that kind of politics."

While Whitwell is certainly free to challenge his opponent, we hope that this isn't the beginning of a two-week mud-slinging contest full of half truths, political wedge issues and personal attacks that take away from the real problems of the city. The Jackson City Council already has enough of that kind of silliness.

In any citywide election, the matter of party loyalty is also beside the point. Voters should take a long hard look at what kind of city they want to live in. It's not enough to take a narrow view of your neighborhood and only vote based on your personal wants and needs. Yes, this election is limited to Ward 1; however, all members of the City Council must work together to create a city where all can thrive. A declining tax base, a failing school system and decaying neighborhoods in any part of the city affects every citizen in Jackson.

Ward 1 residents are not immune from the inequities found elsewhere in the city. And as Jackson goes, so goes the Jackson metro area.

As Hattiesburg Mayor and gubernatorial candidate Johnny DuPree states so well in his interview in this issue, Jackson should be a shining star for the state of Mississippi. It will take every Jacksonian to make a difference at the local level, and then follow that upward progress through the Magnolia State.

The Jackson Free Press encourages council candidates Ice and Whitwell to engage in informative and productive debates, and make a real effort to have Ward 1 voters turn out at the polls. We've come a long way in the past two years, and Jackson is making progress. Let's focus on the real issues: infrastructure, economic development, education and creating a better future for all Jacksonians.

As for voters, it's the local candidates who go on to state and national politics. Choose wisely.


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