State Representative to run for Mayor
Thaddeus Jones was the first African-American Alderman in Calumet City when he was elected in 1996. Now, he wants to be the first African-American mayor of the city, which is in the South Suburbs.
Jones, who was born and raised in Ford Heights, is also an Illinois State Representative in the 29th District. Jones said Calumet City is in a state of despair because people have walked away from Calumet City, much like people did in Ford Heights.
“They failed the residents,” he said. “I’m running because I want to make sure residents have a chance, that children growing up in Calumet City will have a chance of great opportunities, great success,” he added. “Same fight that I did, same fight that I gave, I want to make sure these children have an opportunity for that. We have a chance to turn a corner. That’s what I want to do as mayor.”
Jones said he got into politics because he wanted to make a difference. He said when he was living in Ford Heights, he started knocking on doors and being involved in the local Democratic Party.
“I continue that today, still making a difference, still knocking on doors, still talking to residents and still trying to provide a difference,” he said.
Jones said he gets a thrill from helping people, talking to them, praying with them and looking them in the eyes. He added being of service to constituents is a number one priority at his office.
“It means more to people when you knock on their door and you know they need food. Or you knock on their door and you know they just lost someone and you can provide service for them,” he said.
Jones said with his experience in local government and running a campaign, he is well-versed in “bare-knuckle politics.” He said local government and state government have prepared him, so he knows what resources are necessary to bring Calumet City back to life.
He also knows what resources he has brought back to Calumet City as an Illinois State Representative to help the community grow and help the community turn the corner. He said those resources include federal and state funding.
Jones said the demographics of Calumet City have changed, as well as the economic development opportunities. He said River Oaks used to be the economic engine of Calumet City. Now, he describes it as an “eyesore.”
Jones discussed his vision for Calumet City and said he wants the residents to join him in imagining the possibilities. “Just imagine a Calumet City that has jobs and economic development. Just imagine a Calumet City that has less crime. Just imagine a Calumet City that has programs for its youth and its people. Just imagine a Calumet City that has good housing and good economic development,” he said.
Jones added he has a five-point plan that includes bringing in jobs (including union jobs), economic development, reducing crime, better education and housing. Jones went on to discuss creating “a Black Wall Street” in Calumet City.
He added: “I want to revitalize River Oaks Mall, by making it a mixed housing, mixed development at the mall, bring in a downtown district in Calumet City, with a new mall and new municipal building, new downtown for business and create a Black Wall Street in Calumet City. And, redeveloping Smiley Plaza.”
Jones said once that is done, residents will be reconnected and once residents and elected officials get reconnected, they can envision a new Calumet City. “I’m going to be a mayor for everybody in Calumet City,” he said. “We can do this and we will turn a corner.”