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One Mayoral Candidate’s Journey

Ronnie Crudup Jr. was a mayoral candidate in this past election.

Ronnie Crudup Jr. was a mayoral candidate in this past election. Photo by Imani Khayyam.

My experience with running for mayor of Jackson was tremendous. I met so many great people that I probably would have never come across had I not jumped in with both feet. Everything was interesting but nothing like people told me it would be. Most of the people that I dealt with along the way were quite nice.

I've made it my mission to always operate by the golden rule: "Treat people the way I want to be treated." I 100-percent believe that when you operate in that manner, good things reciprocate.

When I announced my candidacy Dec. 14, 2016, I didn't have a clue what I was doing. The media that showed up that morning asked a few questions that I was not ready for, but I handled it the best I could. Surrounded by family and friends, we were a motley crew who didn't know much about politics. What was certain was my passion for Jackson and the work I do, my call to enter the race, and my team's willingness to trust and help me. My biggest fear was never the job requirement but the debate. ?

Our first forum was at a church in south Jackson. Every candidate had 15 minutes to give a speech on why we should be mayor, with no questions asked. I said my speech, not even using the full 15 minutes, but I was able to rouse the crowd by telling stories of what Jackson, especially south Jackson, used to be and my strong desire to get us back there. I used my gift of passionately telling stories to my advantage.

I struggled in the next forum, but by God, I got through it. I was able to regroup with my team and make improvements. Around the fourth one, I'd finally found my rhythm and identity within this arena. I enjoy life, love humor, and I was able to use my wit to make the audience laugh a little. I became one of the top three candidates whom people wanted to hear because they had no clue what I was going to say while on the stage. I had a hiccup here and there, but I did fairly well by the last debate.

Money was an issue from the start. My mother gifted me my first few thousand dollars to help get me started. However, raising money continued to be tough because people were unsure if I was fit to be mayor or should even be running. Over my career, I've never had a problem asking donors for money for various projects. But asking for money for a personal endeavor became one of the hardest things I've ever done. Trying to do this on my own, I did all I could to not ask my father for help.

One day, I had a meeting with Pastor Jerry Young, hoping to get his endorsement. He greeted me, and we had a really nice conversation. He graciously listened as I shared my thoughts and plans. After about 15 minutes, he admitted that he'd already pledged his support to another candidate, and he believed in keeping his word. I totally understood. Even though I hated to hear "no," I needed it. While leaving his office, my truck cut off on me and stalled the entire way home. My normal 15-minute drive turned into a 45-minute one. I cried the entire way because I had no clue of what to do or what direction to go in. Interestingly enough, the only thing I could do was "My God is Awesome." I wasn't mad at God—I just needed direction. I believe he was waiting on me to cry out and ask for it. Well, from that moment forward, I did, knowing he was turning things around for me.

This was an amazing journey for me and my wife. I would do it all over again knowing the things that I know now. I grew close to the other candidates and their teams, seeing each other so often. Jackson is made up of many unique and wonderful people, and I love them all.

Ronnie Crudup Jr. was a mayoral candidate in this past election.


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