Graham touts ‘experience’ to be mayor

September 22, 2016 in News

By Shanderia K. Posey

Editor

Robert Graham addresses the media and supporters as he officially announced his candidacy for Jackson mayor Sept. 15 on the steps of the Hinds County Circuit Courthouse. PHOTO BY SHANDERIA K. POSEY

Robert Graham addresses the media and supporters as he officially announced his candidacy for Jackson mayor Sept. 15 on the steps of the Hinds County Circuit Courthouse. PHOTO BY SHANDERIA K. POSEY

Hinds County District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham officially announced his candidacy for Jackson mayor Sept. 15, on the steps of the Hinds County Circuit Courthouse.

Graham’s campaign is banking on his “experience, maturity and leadership” – words etched on his campaign signs as reasons he should be the capital city’s next mayor. Surrounded by supporters, local Attorney Crystal Wise Martin led the press conference by saying Graham is a “candidate that we can trust.”

Graham’s wife, Shirley Graham, introduced her husband describing his successes as “a true story of a workaholic.” She shared how Graham started shining shoes on Farish Street in Jackson at the tender age of 9. He later tagged along side his father, Robert Graham Sr., reading water meters during the summer. The job helped him become more acquainted with different communities in Jackson. After graduating from Lanier High School in 1971, Graham went to Chicago for school but soon returned to Jackson. He worked as a janitor – “taking pride in every aspect of the job,” his wife said. Later he worked as a dispatcher at the Jackson Police Department.

Eventually he was promoted to 911 supervisor and was the first civilian commander of the 911 Division. For the past 10 years, he has represented North Jackson as Hinds District 1 Supervisor. It was in this role Graham said he learned to collaborate with citizens and build relationships.

“My husband has worked tirelessly with honor,” Shirley Graham said. In addressing the media and supporters, Graham said the reason he’s running for mayor is because,“I believe in the resilient spirit and the indomitable pride of each and every one of you. “As your next mayor I will make our cities and our homes safe again for everyone. I will not talk about fixing potholes or persisting pothole problems or failing infrastructure, I will fix them. No excuses, no delays, no empty promises.”

Graham said to fix the infrastructure, he would make sure the 1 percent sales tax was used wisely, bringing in private contractors if necessary. “You have to make it a priority. Streets need to be paved Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until we get back to a sense of normalcy,” he said.

The lifelong Jackson resident and graduate of Jackson State University graduate has worked with JPD for more than 30 years. While his career has shown him a lot of negatives – crime and drug use – about Jackson, Graham stressed he’s also seen the positives – “a proud city with honorable people.”

Community activist David Archie is lending his support for Graham. “I think that we need maturity to lead this city,” Archie said. “I think that we need greater experience. The fact that most mayors have come out of either Ward 2 or Ward 1 in this city, I think that it will follow suit because we believe that this city looks up to North Jackson and Northeast Jackson as a whole. We think we have a variety of folks in that area – whites and blacks – and I think it is time to mend the two people together and move forward in terms of economic education and repairing and repaving these streets in the city of Jackson and dealing with this budget.

“There’s never been a massive layoff in this city like what is going on. The talk of closing Grove Park is absolutely pathetic and I don’t think that Mayor Graham would actually stand for that. I think he would find a way to increase the budget and go out and find folk who would actually put money into the city.”

Archie

Archie