Former mayor, repentant resident among five running for Jackson mayor

Jackson Mayor Jason Smith is leaving his seat to run for the Michigan State House. (May 2015 photo)

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)– Voters in Jackson will narrow down the field of five candidates to one mayor on Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Current mayor Jason Smith is stepping down from the post to run for the 64th District seat currently held by state Rep. Earl Poleski, who is term-limited.

A few familiar faces are among the candidates to replace him.



Martin J. Griffin served as Jackson’s mayor from 1995 to 2006, then from 2011 until 2013, when he lost his seat to Smith.  In between his two terms, he served as the Democratic representative of Michigan’s 64th District, according to the Michigan League of Conservation Voters.

In 2012, Griffin had been targeted by a recall effort led by the Jackson Area Landlords Association, which claimed he failed to deliver on a campaign promise.

Griffin is a native of Jackson.



John Wilson was a write-in candidate in 2013, when he garnered 20 percent of the votes.

Our media partner the Jackson Citizen Patriot reports he joined the race after stepping down as the current mayor’s campaign manager.

When announcing his intentions to run again, Wilson said the city needs to prioritize its spending to reward Jackson’s responsible, hard-working and retired taxpayers.



 Bill Jors is the vice president of County National Bank.  The Jackson native returned to the city in 2011, when he left his place  in Summit Township for a home in Jackson.  Jors has a wife, daughter and step-daughter. He also hosts a radio show focused on banking in Jackson.

According to videos posted on his campaign website, Jors is focusing on creating a cleaner, safer Jackson and promoting its recreational and downtown assets to attract businesses and residents.



Laura Dwyer Schlecte has represented Jackson’s 4th Ward since 2011.

According to her campaign website, Schlecte has three decades of experience in real estate.  She is the owner of Thinking Real Estate, and co-owner of Think Jackson, which supports creating new events and attractions to make Jackson more appealing.



 Jackson resident Eugene Hurd, Jr. is currently serving 12 months probation for driving while impaired by drugs and operating a vehicle without a license. According to court records obtained by the Jackson Citizen Patriot, Hurd previously spent six months in prison for stealing a laptop from the Jackson Area Career Center in 2010.  He also spent three months in jail in 1994 for retail fraud.

Hurd told our news partner the Jackson Citizen Patriot  “Just like I’m being held accountable for my crimes, the city needs to be held accountable for their failures. I’m not going to give up. I’m a winner.”

Voters from 15 precincts in Jackson’s 6 wards will decide who will be the next mayor.  Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

>>Mid-Michigan 2015 election results

6 News will share the results as they come in.

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