My New Assignment – Denise Jackson Peoria 1st District Council Member Elect

1st Dist. Council Member elect  Denise Jackson (2nd from left) celebrates election victory at Carver Center with siblings Janice Hightower, Craig Jackson and Sherry Beatty. 

When God gives you an assignment, He not only equips you to do it but sends resources and help! This has been my prayer over the past 8-9 months as we kicked off the people’s campaign for the 1St District Peoria City Council. It has been an exciting journey that has set me on course for a new assignment, one that I did not see coming. The Lord has provided one confirmation after another that this is the direction I must follow for the foreseeable future. I pledge to work for the good of the community, residents and businesses in the 1st District.

I will strive to be transparent, accountable and accessible to all constituents, not just those in the 1st District but within the city of Peoria. My first goal will be to implement the 3-step action plan introduced last December. It involves installing lighting in areas where it does not exist, including alleys, identifying areas for rain gardens to resolve the storm water overflow and posting warning signs and cameras in hotspots where there is illegal dumping.

I also want to create a 1st District Commission to establish a plan for revitalizing older neighborhoods. Kudos to city leaders for getting $30 million dollars to revitalize the Warehouse District. Now it is time to expand that redevelopment into adjacent communities like the North Valley and the Southside. We will work vigorously to get federal infrastructure funding to redevelop those areas. In recent years new housing has come to both the Warehouse District and the North Valley neighborhoods. Southside Community United for Change (SCUC) and other residents now want to see new, affordable housing come to the Southside.

This is just a glimpse of the challenges ahead. But I am confident that we will rise to the occasion. I am encouraged when I think about people who influenced me, my parents, Rev. Calvin Hightower and the late John Gwynn. As the state and local President of the NAACP, Gwynn was responsible for blacks getting access to jobs in Peoria. He led boycott after boycott of companies until those barriers of racism were broken down. We stand on the shoulders of giants. We all have an obligation to work to build a better community for those coming after us. Don’t sit on the sidelines and do nothing. Help us to make Peoria a city everyone can be proud of.