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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – 41NBC is continuing conversations with candidates running for office.
Candidate name: Stacy Jenkins
Running for: District 8 Macon-Bibb Commissioner
Occupation: Conducts research studies, substitute teacher for Bibb County School District
Campaign Facebook: Elect Stacy Jenkins for District 8 Commissioner
Q: Why are you running for commission, in a nutshell?
A: What really sparked me—a few years ago it started, because I was a victim of a home burglary twice while living here in District 8. I got upset about it. I wanted to rally about it. Not only was I a victim, but so were my neighbors. I got out of myself, because it wasn’t just about me. I got motivated to do something about the whole entire neighborhood. And so I went on and I joined and got accepted into the Historic Macon Foundation. They have a neighborhood incubator leadership program, so I attended and graduated from there and it helped me develop the skills to become a leader within my community. It motivated me, because I see the need that’s in our district. We have a lot of youth that’s in our district that don’t have a lot of opportunities. We don’t have a lot of resources to take advantage of. And of course we have a high gun violence issue, and that’s all related to each other.
So all of those things motivated me. Also, the poverty level here as well. I was explaining to somebody, like, ‘I’m a graduate. I have a graduate degree.’ But yet still there are a lot of things that I can’t have accessibility to, because there’s not a lot of opportunities here. And if there are opportunities, I can’t afford them. So I can feel the plight for many citizens that live in my district. I’m here with them, and I want to fight for them, advocate for them—for them to get access to opportunities. If you work hard for it, you should have some access to opportunities: home ownership, food security, safety within your community. Those are things that are given.
Q: You mentioned crime there, and that’s obviously a big concern for everybody running for any office. How do you get the sheriff’s office to fight that crime you mentioned in an effective way?
A: We’re already doing the work now, or I’m partially doing the work. I did a documentary two years ago called “How to Die Young in Middle Georgia,” and I got a lot of our local leaders involved in that documentary, like Coroner Leon Jones spoke a lot in that documentary on solutions to bring down gun violence, especially within the urban, young, black community. But to give our sheriff’s department the financial resources that they need, I went and spoke to Sheriff David Davis about two months ago, and I wanted to know as a commissioner, what is it that you need if I’m elected into office? How can I help you, because I see that the money is there, and it’s allocated for other endeavors within the city, but when it comes to the first thing that most citizens are most concerned about—their public safety—the funding is not there. And that’s what we have to do. We have to support them, but we also need to have skilled police officers. I graduated from Mercer University, and a lot of universities and colleges like Mercer have programs where they encourage police officers, public safety officers to go to the next level within their career and to become degreed officers so that you’re better prepared and you’re community advocates. They give you the skills and the tools that you’re better able to communicate with the citizens that you serve. If you present the skills, then you should be able to rally for an increase in your salary. I want to keep officers in the community, and not only to give resources to the sheriff’s department, but also our county commissioners must think of ways of keeping these officers here like home buyer assistance. We have to think of ways that’s going to keep those good officers and good community public safety officers in our community so that we can grow from there.
Q: You mentioned some great ideas there. How do you pay for them? Are you more in favor of tax increases or cuts elsewhere?
A: I’m more in favor of going more to our retail tax if possible. I don’t want to punish the homeowner. We want to encourage home ownership here, and if homeowners keep hearing that their tax rates are going to continuously go up, then that’s going to discourage home ownership, and that’s where we get a majority of our funding from is homeowners here in this community. I also want to increase home ownership with low-income communities, like myself. The more we increase home ownership in Macon, the more and the higher taxes we can collect. We focus too much on—they’re great, don’t get me wrong, because we need it—housing for students and the community that is in downtown.
We’ve focused a lot of our efforts and resources on lofts downtown, and lofts doesn’t pay a lot towards county taxes. We need more people to buy homes, so if we could encourage that, and also there’s other opportunities where we could look at increasing income coming into the community with a new population. I’m implanted into Macon. We want more people to come into Macon like me that wants to be a part of Macon and wants to add to the growth of Macon. New money has to come in. That goes back to our crime. That goes back to our safety. People have to feel a sense of security to want to establish a life here.
Q: Tell me something that’s good about Macon-Bibb.
A: The other day, when I went out there and marched with the young lady and young man who coordinated the peaceful march from the Tubman Museum to the city hall to the courthouse and back, that shows Macon, because you have a lot of people that want to move into a positive direction as a city and as a state, as a whole. We have a great community. Of course, we have a lot of things that we still have to work on. There’s still room for improvement as far as race relations, as far as making sure that disparities are looked at and we solve those problems, but as a whole, we all want the same things.
It was just a great thing to see, and I was downtown talking to white people, Filipino people, black people. We were all having a good time. That’s the good thing about Macon, and I want to see more of that. Our politics have divided us racially, especially during this election. There has been a mention brought up that there might be a bill presented by Senator David Lucas, who’s currently in office, that we could possibly be a city that doesn’t even have a mayor, and we just have a city manager. I see that when election time comes up, that’s when racial division starts to take place in Macon, and we don’t need that. That’s taking us back. We need to go forward.
Jenkins is running against Michelle Parks and current commissioner Virgil Watkins.