Smith Unseats Incumbent Mayor in Jackson

Jason Smith, a 31-year-old political newcomer defeated incumbent Martin Griffin Tuesday night to win the Jackson mayoral race.

"It's so humbling and you're kind of overwhelmed with a mix of emotions," said Smith. "But at the end of the day, you're still focused on getting back to work and focusing on what you're going to do tomorrow and the next day and the next day and how we're going to continue this momentum into City Hall and into the future."

Smith took 46 percent of the vote to Griffin's 34 percent. Write-in candidates took 20 percent of the vote, much of it presumably for candidate John Wilson.

Griffin was seeking re-election after finishing a term that began in 2011. He previously served as mayor from 1995-2006.

"I wouldn't have gone into it if I didn't think I had a shot," said Smith. "And the citizens wanted a new voice, we needed a new voice. We needed an injection of fresh blood if you will and so this was the year to do it and this was a crucial year. And I said this last night at a debate: this election is going to change the face of this city for decades to come."

Across town, a small group of marijuana advocates celebrated the approval of a proposal that will decriminalize the use, possession or transfer of less than an ounce of marijuana.

Steven Sharpe has been fighting for legalization for 40 years. He says he never thought he'd see this day come.

"In the city of Jackson it's going to make people a lot safer and it's going to help the police out also," said Sharpe, who helped deliver the petitions to get it on the ballot. "So it's a win-win situation on this one."

Marijuana supporters say the next step is taxing the drug to bring in money for the city.


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