From the desk of LeRoy G. Walker Jr.

January 12, 2017 in Letters To The Editor, Opinion

The Mississippi Link Newswire

2 Leroy.Walker_05Dear Fellow Jacksonians,

This year, we will elect the next mayor of the City of Jackson. However, this election is no ordinary election. Mississippi’s Capitol City is at a critical point in its history. Our city is rapidly declining. Our infrastructure is crumbling. Our citizens don’t feel safe in their homes and communities. Our educational system is in crisis.

Meaningful and significant economic development has almost halted completely in areas that need it most, making it difficult for hardworking Jacksonians to find jobs that will enable them to provide a better quality of life for themselves and their families. While many major cities across the country are experiencing similar issues, Jackson’s problems have been compounded by what many feel is ineffective city leadership that is unwilling and unable to work with key stakeholders to address the city’s most pressing issues. Given Jackson’s current condition, many have speculated on whether I will announce my candidacy for Mayor of the City of Jackson in the upcoming election.

Over the past several months, I have been in deep prayer and intense consultation with my family, closest friends and advisers. During this time, as we studied Jackson’s issues and began to develop solutions and a path forward, one central and recurring question emerged: Would LeRoy Walker Jr. be more valuable to the City of Jackson as its mayor or as a driving force in the city’s business and philanthropic communities? I have concluded that, given the current political landscape, I am far more valuable to Jackson in an expanded capacity within its business and philanthropic communities. Hence, I will not run for Mayor of the City of Jackson. While the city’s obstacles seem insurmountable to many, I am hopeful that, with the right leadership at every level, Jackson can become a pillar of both the New South and the United States.

However, Jackson’s future does not –and cannot – rest on the shoulders of the mayor. Rather, Jackson’s future will depend on substantive relationships, partnerships and collaboration between the mayor, the city council, state and county leaders as well as the business community, the philanthropic community, the faith-based community and other city stakeholders. Going forward, I hope to assume an expanded leadership role in the business and philanthropic communities’ efforts to help Jackson surmount its obstacles and to meet the economic, educational and social needs of the larger Jackson community.

In addition, I hope to help identify, train and develop a new cadre of young, bright, principled and selfless leaders to sustain and continue the progress we will undoubtedly make in the coming years. In closing, as we elect our next mayor and other city leaders, I urge Jacksonians to cut through the rhetoric and the rumors and make educated and well-informed choices on who is most qualified and best-positioned to lead Mississippi’s Capitol City. My commitment to the City of Jackson is unwavering. The city and its people have been good to me and my family. I stand ready to partner with our next mayor to move Jackson forward!

The City of Jackson remains forever in my prayers.

Sincerely, LeRoy G. Walker Jr. Servant