Rick Whitlow General Election Kickoff

Rick Whitlow
General Election Kickoff Press Conference
May 4, 2005 * 12:30 PM
612 North State Street, Suite A * Jackson, Mississippi

Good afternoon, hello, and welcome.

Contrary to what you may have read or heard over the last 24 hours, the City of Jackson did not, I repeat, did not, elect a mayor last night(May 3rd). The General Election will be on June 7th and between now and then I am still standing and I will have a lot to say about the promise of this city and who can best provide the leadership as Mayor to fulfill that potential. There are a lot of people who did not vote on May 3rd who still have a say about who will be Mayor of the City of Jackson for the next 4 years.

Now that the curtain has finally gone down on the political dog and pony show we have all had to endure over the past couple of months, I am here to get the attention of the citizens of Jackson back on the very serious and critical issues we face.

At the top of that critical issues list is the issue of CRIME.
I want to use this occasion, at this place, and time to proclaim that when elected Mayor my #1 priority will be to restore order and confidence, and be totally committed to reducing crime and improving the quality of life in our city for all citizens.

The first step in accomplishing that goal is to commit the Jackson police department component of the Hinds County criminal justice system to the policing philosophy referred to as “ZERO TOLERANCE.”

This philosophy is aggressive, and has it pros and cons, and certainly will have its critics. But for the past two years, I have studied it in great detail and believe it to be the course of action we should take to reduce crime in our city.
The Jackson Police Department can not implement “ZERO TOLERANCE” by itself. I will look to form partnerships. A united front with other Metro area components of the criminal justice system and encourage them publicly and privately to support and buy in to the “ZERO TOLERANCE” crime fighting plan.
“ZERO TOLERANCE” is not a one size fits all panaceas for solving crime. It is aggressive, and will be monitored and evaluated on a quarterly basis. We will modify and make adjustments as needed. The civil rights of all citizens will be respected. Indiscriminate head busting will not be tolerated. Police officers will be held accountable for their actions, but they will also have the complete and total backing of the Mayors office to enforce the laws. We will continue to recruit and retain quality officers; make sure they are properly trained, have quality equipment, and resources.

We can and will make sure that not only people in our city, state, and nation, but also globally know that Mississippi’s capital city of Jackson is once again “safe and open for business.”

It will be law and order, and improved image building which will spur our economic development. Not the practice of raising taxes.

We must protect the current investments being made downtown, and in other parts of our city. Implementing “ZERO TOLERANCE” policing will protect those investments and encourage others, which in turn improves the quality of life, broadens the tax base, improves education, and creates opportunities for affordable traditional homeownership, and also creates new jobs. We will work hard to make sure our city is once again “safe and open for business.” LEADERSHIP MATTERS.

Education:
Last year I had the opportunity and privilege to serve on the Jackson Public Schools strategic core planning team. It was an incredible learning experience. I came away with new knowledge of the challenges educators are facing. I believe in class room discipline and the power of parental involvement. During my son’s childhood, I was a single parent, so I know how difficult it can be to balance a career, Parent-Teacher conferences, PTA meetings, band practice, and many other extra-curricular activities.

My approach to working with Jackson’s Public and Private schools will be to listen to what the dedicated professionals are saying and what their needs are and how the Mayor’s office can help them achieve their goals and improve JPS. I will also appoint board members who will not promote policies which subject our children to the subtle racism of “low expectations.” Once again it’s about partnership, co-operation, and teamwork.

In Conclusion:

I will be going into more detail about my other platform issues of Economic Development, Healthy Jackson, Handicap accessibility, and racial reconciliation in the weeks ahead.

It is important that the citizens of Jackson and the Metro area know that my administration will be about results, not good intentions. I don’t want to hear about how hard we tried, how much money we spent, or all the political would haves, could haves, and should haves. I will make decisions in a timely manner, with the best interests of the citizens of Jackson first and foremost.
So it is in that spirit we ask for the support of Democrats who are seeking an alternative to their party nominee and all the citizens of Jackson who are not as interested in bravado as they are positive results for the City. I am passionate and enthusiastic as we continue our march towards the bright future that awaits the city of Jackson and its people, when voters make a decision for a leader with integrity, honor, dignity, and commitment on June 7th.