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NAME: DuRon Jackson

CANDIDATE FOR: Huntington City Council At-Large (At-Large candidates are elected by all Huntington voters)

PARTY: Democrat

CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: duronforhuntington.com

HOME CITY: Huntington

HOME COUNTY: Cabell

AGE: 48

EDUCATION: High school graduate

CURRENT OCCUPATION: Program Director for Phil Cline YMCA

OTHER WORK HISTORY: tristate airport, Huntington YMCA.

CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Board Member of United Way Prevention Empowerment Partnership, Board Member of the Fairfield Community Development Corporation.

FAMILY: Wife, Shelley; children, Erica, Lakisha, Kyra, Myia, Dionne, Marcus, Mahki & Amara; grandchildren, Kai’el, Dax & Tru.

PERSONAL STATEMENT: I serve as Program Director for the Phil Cline Family YMCA. I have been blessed with the opportunity to mentor thousands of area youth from all backgrounds. The main reason I am running for City Council is to give back to the City which has provided opportunities to me. My personal life is centered around my faith and my family.

1. What are your suggestions for the long-term financing of Huntington's government?

It appears the City’s finances are on solid ground, however, we still need to focus on rebuilding our communities and innovation so our city can continue its financial stability.

2. What are the most important problems in your district (or city for mayor and at-large council candidates)?

Lack of jobs and job training, addiction, culture and mindset.

3. Should the city bring back a curbside recycling program? If so, should it be funded with a levy vote or by expanding the county's program?

Although my family has not incorporated recycling into our lifestyle I do believe that residents should have the opportunity to do so. With the fragile state of the economy I feel we should embrace the program we currently have through the Cabell County Solid Waste Authority and not burden our residents with more taxes and fees.

4. What more needs to be done to encourage new housing construction in the city?

Economic development is the key to new housing construction. The Brad Smith College of Business, new Pharmacy School on Hal Greer Blvd and our vibrant downtown shopping and dining scene serve as examples of progress we can build on.

5. How would you continue to fight the opioid epidemic? Do you support the harm reduction program?

The opioid epidemic must be addressed in collaboration with Federal and State agencies. On a local level, we need to hire more police officers and advance community based treatment for motivated people. I believe sober living homes provide a needed service, however, these facilities should be monitored and their success rate be used to determine if they are a vital part of our community.

6. What more could be done to help tear down dilapidated houses?

One priority of mine is to identify and obtain grant money and other funding to expand demolition. The West Virginia legislature recently expanded its programs to demolish abandoned and dangerous buildings around West Virginia. I have spoken with a couple of legislators who believe Huntington could serve as a “pilot project” and are working to move Huntington into that position.

7. How will you address Huntington’s dwindling population?

Economic development and working in collaboration with all anchored institutions, such as Marshall University will lead to growth.

8. How will you continue to encourage the decrease in crime throughout the city?

Programs are in place which are helping reduce crime. I believe we should hire more police officers and devote more resources to our at-risk youth such as one on one mentoring and afterschool programs.

9. Do you think staffing levels for the city’s police and fire departments are adequate, too low or too high? If you think changes are needed, how would you accomplish those?

As stated before I believe our area needs more police officers.

10. The state of WV government recently put all finances and purchases online for the public’s review. Do you support a similar thing happening in Huntington?

I support any reasonable measure which will assure our citizens of more transparency in terms of how our municipal government operates and how their tax dollars are being spent.

NEW GENERAL ELECTION QUESTIONS 

11. How would you address the problem of loose trash and litter in your district?

By expanding our Public Works Division we could have workers to coordinate with neighborhood organizations to find out the areas that need the most attention. Week to week they could go into communities in each district to clean up trash and litter. They could also coordinate with Code Enforcement about the houses that have been cited for overgrown weeds and trash.

12. Do you support rehabilitation housing in your district? Why or why not?

Yes I do. If someone is in need they should be able to receive help. There should be some type of regulation to see if the rehab houses are compliant and successful. You shouldn't be able to operate a house if it is not productive. All programs have measurables that determine if they are doing what they claim to do. If not, shut it down.

13. What more could be done to encourage businesses to open in the city?

By creating community owned corporations we can become job creators. We also need to support each other locally and strengthen current businesses. Start rebuilding our city from the inside out and not depend on outside business. Community first!

14. What more could be done to promote an inclusive environment as part of the city’s “Open to All” campaign?

An inclusive environment is very important in this time of racial divide across the US. It has to become a part of our culture. We can't just talk about it, we must live it. So education and implementation is key to promoting a more inclusive environment.

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