Jackson Mayoral Candidates Make Final Push Before Election

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

Election day is a week from tomorrow, and three men are vying for one position: Mayor of Jackson.

The two candidates challenging incumbent Mayor Marty Griffin are busy making their final push, but voters will see only two names on the ballot.

As a write-in candidate, John Wilson said he's playing catch up but doing the best he can.

"My campaign staff includes a staff of three, and that's me, myself, and I," Wilson said.

He's also getting a little help from his cat, Martini. Wilson admits he could use all the help he can get, as Jackson's write-in mayoral candidate, the 55-year-old put his name in the game last month. So, voters won't see it on the ballot unless they put it there.

"It'll be just that line, and they'll just have to take that extra step and write my name in," Wilson said.

The life-long Jackson resident and Lumen Christi grad said he understands the issues the city is facing better than anyone else, and that's part of why he stepped down as challenger Jason Smith's campaign manager a few months back.

"I have a true passion for the City of Jackson, and you need confidence from both the citizens and businesses to move the city forward," Wilson said.

Meanwhile, in a swanky downtown campaign headquarters, the new-age candidate almost 25 years Wilson's junior is gaining momentum. Smith, a 31-year-old Michigan Center alum, is proudly representing his generation.

"It's our time to step up to the plate," Smith said. "We talk about how we want things to change and how we want everything to be different and positive, but we weren't really acting on that. So, now is the time to get involved. Now is the time to step up."

The co-owner of a media production company and theater enthusiast is focused on community involvement, and says he would have an open door policy as mayor.

"I want our city to come together," Smith said. "I'm not opposed to giving people my personal cell phone number and my personal email address."

Maybe most important to some voters, when it comes to leaf pick-up in the city, both candidates said they want it restored.

They plan to keep pounding the pavement in the final days before the election.

We reached out to incumbent Mayor Griffin several times, but he never called us back.

The candidates are scheduled to debate on Monday at 6:00 p.m. at the Michigan Theatre in downtown Jackson.

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