Stepping outside of traditional ministry to become a public servant

April 6, 2017 in News

“Let’s Rebuild Together”

By Othor Cain

Editor

Ronnie Crudup Jr. announcing his candidacy for mayor of the city of Jackson backed by family, friends and supporters.

Ronnie Crudup Jr. announcing his candidacy for mayor of the city of Jackson backed by family, friends and supporters.

At 39 years old, Ronnie Crudup Jr., feels a new call from God to do ‘more’ for Jackson. That calling includes stepping outside of the four walls of New Horizion International Church, where he currently serves as the executive director of the church’s community arm New Horizon Ministries.

Crudup vividly recalls a short stay in the hospital nearly two years ago after an unexplained fall. “I was hospitalized for three days and all I could do was look up at the ceiling and I heard that voice…that voice from God, asked me a question…If the doctor comes back and says to you, you only have a year or two left to live, what are you going to do.” I had to ponder that question and that’s when I decided I’m going to give all of my energy and time to boys and young men, helping them become great and making sure South Jackson is transformed.”

Crudup moved to South Jackson in 1993 and has watched the area that he’s called home for over a decade slowly decline. “I’m a firm believer, you can either sit on the sidelines and complain or you can get up and get involved…I chose the latter,” he said.

Crudup has recruited businesses to South Jackson, bought, transformed and created affordable living in South Jackson and created sports programs for youth.

“It’s not that I’ve done all of these things by myself, its the very essence of what my campaign is all about, we are rebuilding South Jackson together and now I want to help lead the efforts to rebuild Jackson together,” he said.

In offering himself as a public servant with his quest to become the city’s CEO, Crudup understands it will take collaborative efforts to move Jackson in the right direction.

“We didn’t get to this place overnight and we will not rebuild overnight, but what we can do immediately is join forces, bring our contacts to the city at large and create opportunities for growth,” Crudup said. “It will take every citizen in this city working together, that’s how we ‘Rebuild Together.”

Crudup is making this investment in the city for the long haul. “I think its time for a new direction and regardless of how this race turns out, I’m committed to staying involved…if by chance it won’t be a Crudup administration, I’m committed to working with the next administration in some capacity,” he said.

“When we made the decision to do this, I knew that I would not return to the church to work in ministry … of course, I will still worship at New Horizon!”

What Crudup also knows is that he isn’t seeking the mayor’s seat for financial gain. “Listen, I’ve had many folk approach me during and even before this campaign and say to me…we like what you’re doing in South Jackson, let us help you expand your work there, make a larger imprint of your work….pay you a great salary,” he said.

“Some people think I’m crazy for passing up those opportunities, but what I know for sure…I see greater, I see more for Jackson and all of its citizens and I want to be a part of that rebuild.”

The same issues that Crudup has focused on and been very successful in implanting in South Jackson are the pilars of his quest to become mayor.

Let’s rebuild our infrastructure

Let’s repair our streets, update the drainage system, and tear down abandoned and dilapidated housing.

Let’s invest in our youth

Let’s take a holistic approach to improve the quality of education, support and develop youth recreation, and expand opportunities for youth employment.

Let’s make our city safe

Let’s make our city safe through supporting crime reduction efforts and strengthening our communities.

Let’s create affordable housing

Let’s create affordable housing for the residents in the city of Jackson, turning abandoned and dilapidated properties into affordable and thriving communities.

Let’s focus on economic development

Let’s work a strategic plan taking steps that will improve the economic well-being and quality of life for our community.

Crudup has strong ties to the youth in Jackson. Through his work with the YoungLife Youth Organization and volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club, he has impacted the lives of many. He is also active in the operation of several youth programs.

A graduate of Murrah High School, Jackson Public Schools is close to his heart. He works diligently in several schools in South Jackson. “I want to take what I do there and spread that throughout the district,” he said. “I’m going to be the biggest advocate for JPS; I can’t afford not to be.”

Crudup is married to the lovely Andrea, whom quit her job to help full time with his campaign. “I made a commitment to her 12 years ago and here we are today, still going strong and she’s still trusting me on this journey…she’s my best friend,” he said. Together, they are the proud parents of three children David, Nya and Robin.