The Rev. Jesse C. Turner on Friday announced that he will be a candidate for a Ward 1 alderman’s position on the Pine Bluff City Council.
Turner is the executive director of Interested Citizens for Voter Registration Inc. and former local program coordinator for the federally funded Weed and Seed program.
” I will anchor my candidacy on the work I have done, continue to do and the opportunity to expand and help more people as First Ward alderman,” Turner said in a news release announcing his candidacy. “As an elected alderman, you will know me personally; As the First Ward representative I owe it to the people to attend at least 95 percent of public meetings including town hall meetings.
“I will perform quarterly windshield surveys to keep myself abreast of the condition of the ward and to call for the improvement of the areas that continue to be neglected.”
Turner, who holds a master’s degree in community and economic development, said he can provide “fresh new ideas regarding neighborhood restoration and job development,” especially in the downtown area which he said is is “obviously being neglected.”
Turner pointed to ICVR programs such as the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Center and the Pen or Pencil youth program as examples of his leadership abilities.
“There are additional programs that are available but are not being placed on the table as a result of personal agendas.,” he said.
Turner said he is seeking the position to help improve the city.
“My educational background, neighborhood building skills and crime prevention training makes me uniquely qualified to serves as the next First Ward Alderman,” he said. “As your representative I will never block or hinder providing resources to improve our community centers, which gives youngster a safe haven away from illegal activities in the streets. The citizens of Pine Bluff will always have a voice while I serve as your alderman. Providing service to the community is not just what I do, it is the core of who I am. “
Turner said he has been recognized as Volunteer of the Year twice, was presented the Mary Church Terrell Award as a community leader in 2013, received the 2013 Drum Major for Service Award from the Corporation for National and Community Service, and also received the 2013 National CARES Mentoring Wayshower Award and the 2013 Corporation for National and Community Service President’s Volunteer of the Year Award
Turner said he organized the ICVR KingFest Celebration for Pine Bluff and Jefferson County honoring the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.; led the Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Assembly in Pine Bluff in 1998; spearheaded efforts to name a 140-acre park in honor of King; organized and named the first monument in Arkansas in honor of King’s widow, Coretta Scott King; led efforts in 2003 to secure funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation dollars to resurface University Drive/Highway 79 north; led efforts to name the southern bypass in honor of the late Pine Bluff native and civil rights attorney Wiley Branton Sr.; led efforts to bring the U. S. Department of Justice Weed & Seed program to Pine Bluff.
He was the 2013 Arkansas Ambassador for Justice Sunday National Continuum and a former member of the board of trustees for Southeast Arkansas College.