Let’s Rebuild Together
By Othor Cain
With a determined spirit, clear vision and a calling from God, south Jackson resident and non-profit worker Ronnie Crudup Jr. declared his intent Wednesday to run for what could be considered – outside of his norm – the top job in Jackson.
Crudup announced his quest for mayor the same day as businessman LeRoy Walker held a vision-casting session about Jackson’s future in Madison County. Crudup believes that we must ‘rebuild Jackson together.’ “There’s a lot of development happening in Northeast Jackson, Fondern and Belhaven…I believe that we must ensure that West and South Jackson enjoy some of these same benefits,” Crudup said via phone.
“We can do this together.’ Understanding that six people have declared their intentions so far and the possibility of more to come, Crudup said his work separates him from the pack. “I bring hope and possibility to this city,” he said. “I’ve had businesses to move from West Jackson to South Jackson; I’ve got the connections and I want to share those connections, not just in South Jackson, but all over Jackson.”
For the last few years, Crudup has been quietly helping to transform South Jackson. “We have been buying and rehabbing houses, we’ve created youth programs with sports and the arts,” he shared. “We want to expand our work, not for personal gain or name building but rather for the greater good of Jackson.”
While never pondering a career in politics, Crudup said he felt an urge from God ‘to do this.’ “I prayed about it, talked to my wife about it and I feel led to do it,” Crudup said. “I’ve also been encouraged by several people over the last three years to do it and we believe the time is right.” Driven by the need to improve or rebuild Jackson, Crudup said we must provide jobs for Jacksonians and we must create more economic development opportunities. “Creating jobs and looking for ways to bring jobs to Jackson has to be a focal point in running this city,” he said. “Our [Jackson’s] tax base is shrinking and if we don’t create these opportunities, who will?”
Crudup said relationships are important to Jackson. “We’ve got to repair, improve and build our relationships with folk in and outside of Jackson,” he said. “If we want to grow, we must develop and reconcile relationships…we must not be afraid to reach out.” The price tag for the mayor’s seat could become expensive, and this could determine who makes it to the runoff. “
We are entering this race to be competitive and I feel that we can raise money,” Crudup said. “I have assembled a great team of people who are already working…people like and trust me and so we are ready.”