JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — Candidates in mid-Michigan are already gearing up for the November election.
In the city of Jackson, a big mayoral race is expected as the sitting mayor faces off against his second in command.
6 News sat down with both candidates and talked about the upcoming race.
Bill Jors has been the mayor of Jackson for two years.
“I’d like to continue the momentum we’ve established,” said Jors.
But Derek Dobies, the city’s vice mayor, also wants the city’s top job.
“I’ve just had a lot of people talking to me, encouraging me to run,” said Dobies, who has also represented the city’s 6th ward on the city council since 2011.
The two city leaders are the only candidates to file paperwork to run for mayor of Jackson.
“I don’t see it as a challenge. I see it as he would rather be mayor than vice mayor. Derek has served the city well and I applaud anyone who’s willing to step up and take on that role,” Jors said.
Oddly enough, a sitting mayor in Jackson has not been re-elected since 2005.
“I certainly am not taking anything for granted,” Dobies said. “I think it will be an uphill battle, for sure. I like Bill, personally. I both think we bring different traits to the job.”
Perhaps where they differ the most is the city’s LGBT non-discrimination ordinance.
Jors voted against it several times, and Dobies was a strong supporter.
While it’s not clear how much of a role the ordinance will play in the election, the mayor feels he has the support of voters who signed petitions to block it.
“That’s a third of the people that vote in the election. I don’t pass laws to advance my personal interests or my personal feelings. Something like that should have been voted on by the people,” Jors said.
With the ordinance now law, Dobies feels that voters are ready to move past the controversy.
“I believe that our business community, our residents, our neighbors believe that Jackson should be a tolerant inclusive community,” Dobies said.
Both candidates say they’ve seen Jackson improve over the years, and they want to move the city forward.
However, they have different ways of doing it.
“I’m more about small government. I think Derek could be more along the line of getting government more involved in people’s lives. That means typically more taxes,” Jors said.
The vice mayor says his main goal is to get more people involved in city government and tackle hard issues.
“There’s certainly the old guard. The good old boys establishment that is opposed to that, that I think wants to undo a lot of the progress. And I want to run for mayor to protect it,” Dobies said.
With two candidates established, there will be no August primary in this race.
That means both candidates are now launching campaigns and looking toward November.