At last night’s State of The City Address, Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies covered several topics, one of which was gun violence. We caught up with Mayor Dobies before the speech for his comments.
“Tasking with Councilmember Kelsey Heck with leading a gun violence task force. In the last State of The City I challenged Colleen Sullivan to lead that same sort of initiative on our roads. Having explored that and come up with some solutions for our roads, it’s time we really dig into gun violence as an issue,” Dobies said.
During the State of The City address, Dobies addressed the steps taken to fight crime in the city, as well as gun violence. “In the past year, we’ve equipped our police officers with body cameras, added two more police cadets and an additional officer, and passed measures to combat human trafficking…We’ll also address another issue we have in Jackson that’s been called a ‘public health crisis’ by the American Medical Association and the American Public Health Association: gun violence. Gun violence is a public health issue that we are all too familiar with in our city. While crime rates are at a 29-year low in the city – we’ve heard and felt an increase neighborhoods shootings. While overall crime maybe be at its lowest in nearly three decades, we understand both the safety and perception thereof that ‘shots fired’ has in our neighborhoods. That’s why I’ve asked City Councilwoman Kelsey Heck to lead a Gun Violence Task Force. It’s one of the top issues affecting her ward and we’ve already begun a dossier of policy changes, programs and projects to combat gun violence.”
Dobies also spoke about clean, safe, affordable housing. “Subsidized housing doesn’t mean substandard housing. We must make dignity an element of our housing market. There’s no reason that Reed Manor can’t look like the Lofts on Louis. With the Jackson Housing Commission, we can make that vision a reality with a large scale conversion of Reed Manor. We also plan to partner with Wendy Clow of the Jackson Habitat for Humanity on a small home community project south of downtown near Franklin and Mechanic. These small homes have proven as a low cost way to help those struggling with housing and security to build equity and financial security.”
With jobs and new businesses continuing to arrive in Jackson, Dobies hopes to see training programs to help people gain the skills and get “trained for the jobs that exist.”
Finally, Dobies talked about clean energy and moving the city forward with renewable energy. He mentioned The 200 development, which has partnered with Consumers Energy to produce 40% of the building’s electric needs via on-site renewable energy, such as solar panels. Jackson ranked 4th in 2017, and 2nd in 2018 in the United States for the most Energy Star rated buildings in a small city. Dobies hopes to take the top spot in 2019.
To hear the full State of The City Address, click here.