Meet the candidates: Former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson vies for District 165 seat

Your Local Election HQ

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – She’s a familiar face in city politics, and now former Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson is aiming for the Georgia statehouse.

Jackson is running in the special election for state representative in the 165th District, which mostly includes East Savannah.

“Let me do it for Savannah and Chatham County,” Jackson said.

She has been part of her share of campaigns as a city council member and then as the first African American female mayor in Savannah (she was elected in 2012 but lost a re-election bid for years later).

Jackson says she was asked to run by a number of leaders in Chatham County.

“I’m ready,” she said. “I have the knowledge and it’s not like going up and learning, I have many friends in the legislature.”

Jackson also says her tenure as a council member and then mayor has given her some of the crucial background needed to understand financing, redistricting and reapportionment, i.e. money that goes along with changing district lines in terms of population.

Jackson says her experience sets her apart. She’s one of five candidates in a special election to replace State Rep. Mickey Stephens who died in August.

“I want to protect the district that Mickey Stephens had,” she told WSAV. “Because they are doing reapportionment across the country, it is very important that we have the right person in that seat.”

Other priorities include: funding for education, expanding Medicaid and ensuring voter integrity.

“Education is very important to me, I came out of the public school system,” says Jackson. She supports higher pay for teachers and support staff.

She also says Democrats need to do more to try to push through the Medicaid expansion authorized more than 10 years ago in the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Jackson says the expansion would provide billions of extra federal dollars to Georgia. But Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and Nathan Deal before him both rejected an expansion and republican lawmakers have rejected an expansion as well.

Still, Jackson says Democrats have to keep trying.

“It is important that we come together and be advocates and we work to try to convince the governor to accept the money that would help our hospitals not only here in the Savannah Chatham County area but across rural Georgia where some hospitals have had to close.”

She also says state lawmakers can no longer sit back and ignore climate change or the lack of affordable housing for so many, including large numbers of people in Savannah.

Jackson hopes her years of leadership earn her the votes

“I love my city and that is the most important part,” she told us.

While Jackson is hopeful she could win a majority of votes, because there are five candidates, there is a possibility there may need to be a runoff in the race. If necessary, the runoff election will be held on Nov. 30.

This week, WSAV will feature more information about the other four candidates on-air and on wsav.com/yourlocalelectionhq.

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