Benton Harbor's Mayoral candidates gear up for primary

BENTON HARBOR, Mich – Six Benton Harbor Mayoral candidates are gearing up for the primary election on August 6th

Three of the six candidates running for the position of Mayor of Benton Harbor sat down with ABC57 to discuss the current issues, and how they plan on addressing them. 

ABC57 asked each candidate the same questions on the same topics. 

Benton Harbor City Commissioner C.F. Jones, Benton Harbor City Commissioner Ron Singleton and current Mayor Marcus Muhammad participated and answered questions on Benton Harbor’s local economy, Benton Harbor Area Schools and how each would lead the city in the future. 

“The Mayor along with the commission are more or less the chamber of commerce of commerce for the city so to welcome more businesses to also offer aid and innovation for the entrepreneurs to develop businesses to offer those resources to help them build up their businesses which also helps us with our economic base in getting more jobs available for those that’s interested in the area,” Benton Harbor City Commissioner C.F. Jones said.  

Benton Harbor City Commissioner Ron Singleton spoke about the local economy in Benton Harbor and how he would approach local development.

“The lifeline of a city is the power of its economic development but I think also what needs to happen years ago when I was coming up in the neighborhoods you had businesses, you had local cleaners you had the local store or some type of specialty shop a gas station or shoe shop or something I think small businesses is the ones who hire a lot of people,” Singleton said. 

Incumbent Mayor Marcus Muhammad says his administration has made progress with the local economy and he plans on expanding on that. 

“There’s been $31 million dollars invested in the city of Benton Harbor which is record and infrastructure and in projects and that’s the 4.4 square miles and you can check those facts with Abonmarche the city’s engineer but it’s going to take hundreds of millions $31 million is not a drop in the bucket but it’s just a start,” Mayor Muhammad said. 

Each candidate addressed the ongoing fight to keep Benton Harbor Area Schools a K-12 school district. 

“It’s been a problem on and off for the past if I can recall correctly probably close to ten years and the only solution I can offer is possibly talking with the commission getting with the City Manager seeing if there could be some type of program during the off season which is during the summer that could be aided to children as far as summer school or any are that they’ve most interested in to develop that area,” C.F. Jones said. 

Singleton stressed that there is an independent school board but he would seek some collaboration to help the school district.  

“As you know the citizens elected a school board which is totally autonomous from the city I believe what probably has happened in the past is that they were separate and had no collaboration I believe what needs to happen is resources also using positions of elected officials from the city and the school board to be able to come together to come up with different solutions,” Commissioner Singleton said. 

Mayor Marcus Muhammad has led a protest to stop the shutdown of the High School and says he has a personal connection to the school district. 

“I’ve been hands on with Benton Harbor Area Schools and of course now the Mayor of the city my children go to Benton Harbor Area Schools, I just had a daughter graduate so I’m completely vested and I think you can bear witness when the issue of shutdown was put on the table I stepped forward,” Mayor Muhammad said. 

Candidates Jamie Davis and Juanita Henry agreed to take part in the story and be interviewed but cancelled at the last minute. 

Candidate Margie Carter never responded to ABC57’s interview request. 

The Primary election will be on August 6thand the top two in the vote count will move on to November’s general election. 

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