Saturday, July 30, 2016


Jimmie Wilson Jr.
I contacted Jimmie back in June asking if I could interview him in PWP  about his candidacy. Jimmie readily agreed and I'm glad he did. I think his answers are thoughtful and reflect his passion for the community.

1.What inspired you to run for elected office in Ypsilanti Township?

I am running for public office in Ypsilanti Township for a few different reasons.  The obvious would have to be that I want to help keep the township moving forward now that one of our long-time Trustees is retiring.  After 28 years on the board Jean Hall Currie is retiring and is fully supporting me in my efforts to fill the open seat on the board.  I also believe that we need to have diversity on the board of trustees in Ypsilanti Township; a township that is very diverse and should be reflected as such with our elected officials.   I also believe I bring to the table leadership that has been proven when I was appointed as a trustee for my church, and also elected as a trustee for UAW Local 898 at the Ford Rawsonville Plant.  Also appointed as the Vice-Chairman of the Outreach Committee for the Eastern Washtenaw Democratic Club.  Truly understanding finances and making important decisions for the betterment of those I represent have been a blessing over the past few years.

2. Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township schools have faced some difficult challenges over the past few years. The Ypsilanti/Willow Run school merger was a little dicey. What is your take in regard to the local public school districts?

I hope, whoever gets elected to the State Representative position for our district, can make sure this issue gets addressed.  This is an issue statewide and stems from state policies   The way our districts get funded should be more evenly distributed across the state.  Also, we need to think about going back to the cap on charter schools that was in place before this current governor opened up the flood gates.  It doesn't necessarily have to go back to the 200 or so cap across the state but it definitely needs to be slimmed down to schools that perform well.  Nothing wrong with charter schools because some have done excellent!  Then there are some who...seem to live up to the "For-Profit" status that they hold. 

3. Gang violence has been an issue in Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township recently, particularly last summer. There is a citizen group called Ypsilanti Community Interrupters. They were formed with intent to educate citizens in regard to how to help stem violence in the community. What is your opinion on the Ypsilanti Interrupters and local gang violence?

Any group that is willing to start coming out and making a stand on this serious issue, I will support every time!  Youth Development has been my main platform this campaign/election season.  A lot of our crime is coming from our young people currently and I believe we need to get more active with our youth, and giving them more positive things to do in our community and helping build relationships with business to help our youth gain more employment opportunities.  Considering Scholarship incentives and renovating our community center or start to entertain the thought of a real recreation facility in Ypsilanti Township.  

4. What is your opinion on the surveillance camera program in West Willow? Do you feel that the program has been effective in stemming violence in the community?

I believe those that used to do petty crimes have either stopped or moved on to other areas now, but the program itself I don't have a problem with unless the residents say they don't want it.  The vote was a 50/50 split from the residents at that meeting.   I think we need to revisit some of the other areas that have cameras because there are more residents that have voiced their opinion about them over time as well.  Major crimes are still occurring and we need to take better care of taxpayers’ dollars.  

5. What is your vision as far as economic development in Ypsilanti Township?

Promoting responsible businesses, advocating for good paying jobs, as well as supporting the ideas around Regional Transportation and continuing the redevelopment of the Willow Run Bomber Plant.  Those are just some things I will push but I must say though, when this research & development facility really kicks off; combined with regional transportation we will see a new Ypsilanti Township.  With so many hands involved in the facility, new hotels will be needed, new restaurants, entertainment, and recreation space will be needed and a host of other businesses.

Now, on a much lighter note!

6. Who's your favorite band or musician? 

This is a tough question...I love so many different genres that I keep my music player on shuffle at all times!   From The Beatles & AC/DC to Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson, to Jay-Z and The Roots Band, to  Lil' Wayne and Lincoln Park, and the list is endless...

7. Do you have a favorite album?

 I'd have to respond similar to the last question, but if I was forced to choose a few albums:  Back in Black, Songs in the Key of Life, Thriller, The Black Album...

8. Have you read any good books lately?

“Walter Reuther and the Rise of the Autoworkers”

I must say that Walter was a genius and innovator and has helped many generations have a better quality of life.

9. What is your favorite movie?

This is similar to asking about my favorite Musicians. Too many classics to name!   A Beautiful Mind, The Godfather series, Pulp Fiction, Gladiator, Tombstone, etc... 

10. Did you have a favorite TV show when you were growing up?

The A-Team, The Cosby Show, Bewitched, Full House...

Thanks Jimmie!

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.

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