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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) - He is an after school theater instructor at Michigan Center High School, co-owner of Duality Films and a partner with Jacksonopolis. Now, Jason Smith is Jackson's new Mayor-elect.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet that I won," says Smith.
Smith says this victory isn't just about him, but about the people of Jackson. "I'm clapping along with them, because its not about me, its about the people of the city and how its going to affect them," he said.
Smith received more than 1,716 votes last night, compared to the 1,263 for incumbent mayor Martin Griffin. Smith said running against Griffin was a good experience for him. "I really want to tell him through the capaign how much I respect him, and still respect him," he said. "We ran a clean campaign, there was no real mud slinging back and forth."
Smith went door-to-door campaigning throughout Jackson, and says that helped him gain support. "People just want to be heard, and I think that with me standing at the door and letting them know that I was going to take their concerns to city hall, I think that carried a lot of weight with them," says Smith.
At 31-years-old, he is also relatively young for a mayor and thinks some Jackson citizens could take a while to warm up to him.
During his time in office, he wants to help add 3,000 jobs to Jackson County. Smith says there is a workforce that's available and ready to work hard. He hopes to bring businesses in too, adding that the infrastructure in Jackson is affordable. He also wants to find room in the budget to bring back leaf pickup for residents. More generally, he wants to reconnect Jackson's citizens with the government.
"I mean we are a small enough city where we can all work together," says Smith. "Everyone doesn't necessarily know each other, but we're all connected."
He says his office will always be open to the people of Jackson.