Newcomer Jenkins stresses teamwork

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JoRae Jenkins entered the District 1 commission race with no baggage -- no voting record, no past to explain and no well known ties to any established politicians.

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JoRae Jenkins (left) talks with Vivian Washington at Laney-Walker and James Brown boulevards. Ms. Jenkins says she wants to see racial divisions in the city and on the commission end.  Associated Press
Associated Press
JoRae Jenkins (left) talks with Vivian Washington at Laney-Walker and James Brown boulevards. Ms. Jenkins says she wants to see racial divisions in the city and on the commission end.

That's not necessarily an advantage. It also means she's in a five-way race with no name recognition.

Where Bill Fennoy cut his teeth on the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, where Matt Aitken has been involved in the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast and Leadership Augusta, and where Butch Palmer's neighborhood activism has made steady headlines, few people know who Ms. Jenkins is or what she stands for.

The 34-year-old single mother of three said she's just going to have to put in more work between now and Nov. 3, hitting the phones, the pavement and the neighborhood meetings from sunup to sundown. That's her strategy.

"Good, old-fashioned teamwork," she said. "Good, old-fashioned ground work. Getting the trust of the people of Augusta. Letting them know who I am."

Before she qualified to run, Ms. Jenkins had had only one brush with the public spotlight, and it involved vicious animals and a woman nearly mauled to death.

Two years ago, Ms. Jenkins was a child care worker at the Southside Tubman Family Y, and as she was opening up one morning she heard screaming across the street. Brenda Williams, who had been walking to a bus stop, was being attacked by four pit bulls, lying on the ground with jaws bearing down on all four appendages.

With a pregnant friend in the passenger seat, Ms. Jenkins drove her car to the scene, pulling forward and backward and honking the horn until the dogs scattered. She got out, pulled Ms. Williams into the car with the dogs eyeing her from across the road, and rushed her to Medical College of Georgia Hospital.

Ms. Jenkins -- whose first name is pronounced ja-ray -- now runs her own business, Jenkins & Associates Event Planners, planning weddings, birthday parties and meetings for clients. The business is on hold during her campaign, she said.

The pit bull incident was an extreme example of her knack for helping people in trouble, which led her to enter politics, something she's been involved with behind the scenes for years. She said she worked for the campaigns of President Obama, U.S. Rep. John Barrow and two others she declined to name.

As for her own campaign, she's pushing the message of "people over politics." She wants to see an end to commission turmoil along racial lines. Though she has demographics on her side in a majority black district -- not to mention that she's the only woman running to replace the only woman on the commission -- it's not an advantage she wants to play up.

"I would hope people would vote on the issues," Ms. Jenkins said, "and look at me not as a woman, not as a black woman, not as a divorcee, not as a single parent, but on how I stand on the issues.

"Once my message is spread," she said, "when you see my message and what my vision is for the city, it won't be a white vote or a black vote or a swing vote, because the people will have spoken."

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.

AGE: 34

FAMILY: Single; daughter Alexia, 16, son Aaron, 13, and daughter Ashley, 9

EDUCATION: Diploma from Academy of Richmond County, class of 1993; early childhood education diploma from Augusta Technical College

CAREER: Event planner and owner of Jenkins & Associates Event Planners; former child care worker at the Southside Tubman Family YMCA; former program assistant for the Augusta Partnership for Children

LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE: Secretary, Katrina Leadership Project; secretary, It Takes All of Us Inc.

CAMPAIGN PLATFORM: "People over politics"; improving communication between commissioners and constituents; improving communication among commissioners so the board can be one voice for the community; going green by promoting recycling in District 1; providing parental programs; encouraging school attendance to increase test scores

Comments (17) Add comment
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bettyboop
7
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bettyboop 10/04/09 - 05:30 am
0
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Not enough experience....they

Not enough experience....they would eat her alive!

WhiteboyforJenkins
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WhiteboyforJenkins 10/04/09 - 09:51 am
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I hope this single mother of

I hope this single mother of three is up for the challenge of becoming a single mother of nine should she win. Seems to be the only reasonable candidate on the ballot.

FallingLeaves
27
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FallingLeaves 10/04/09 - 01:09 pm
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The only reason I wouldn't

The only reason I wouldn't vote for her is that I would want to spare her the stress. She sounds like a worthy candidate and I would certainly feel honored if she was a friend of mine. She sounds like an exceptional human being. She certainly has proven she has courage.

FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 10/04/09 - 01:26 pm
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"two others she declined to

"two others she declined to name" so much for transparency. Looks like we will get some more closed meetings with her in the Commision.

concernednative
28
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concernednative 10/04/09 - 03:23 pm
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They don't have anyone

They don't have anyone running with any experience especially in economic development is what you need for someone representing downtown. Good luck Augusta the people choosing to run sadly don't have the experience and backgrounds so desperately needed.

SnowBallCity
2
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SnowBallCity 10/05/09 - 11:38 am
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She runs her own business.

She runs her own business. That's a big plus.

omnomnom
3964
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omnomnom 10/06/09 - 06:31 am
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fluffy platform.. i would

fluffy platform.. i would hope she would be more concerned about dilapidated buildings downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods.. increasing police presence.. enforcement of current laws..

ispy4u
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ispy4u 10/09/09 - 06:28 am
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Who says that she need

Who says that she need experience?She just may be the fresh air that is needed.

papadan
1
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papadan 10/09/09 - 08:12 pm
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Single mother of three, where

Single mother of three, where are the father/fathers, or was this invitro. what was katrina leadership project? it takes all of us to do what, raise your children

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 10/09/09 - 08:18 pm
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My main problem with her as

My main problem with her as well as Aitken is that she still supports the tainted TEE Center proposal after all of the corruption allegations. She does not support allowing the voters to decide whether anymore money above and beyond what was approved in the 2005 SPLOST should go to the TEE Center. This shows poor judgement in my book and shows she may be in the pocket of the special interests and not on the side of rge regular people. She seems like an articulate and nice lady, and I am sure she will have a future in local politics, but I don't think this is the time.

hopefulforaugusta
0
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hopefulforaugusta 10/10/09 - 05:15 am
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Ms. Jenkins has already been

Ms. Jenkins has already been fined by the Ethics commission for turning in late documents, so who really has time for that. She does not have any real interest in District 1, her children do not attend schools in this district, she does not work in this district, my neighbor works for the housing authority and she is on Section 8 and every other financial assisstance out there. Who puts their so-called business on hold to run for a Commission seat? Ms. Jenkins is afraid that people will know who she really is. Papadan from your comment, I saw a earlier post that she must have gotten erased, but it talked about all of her kids were fathered by different men and none by her ex-husband and many other indescritions about her. Another thing, she did not want want to disclose the other candidates campaigns she has worked on, ok lets put this together I saw her name on caption for Commissioner Corey Johnson, hmmm makes you wonder. Ms. Jenkins sit down somewhere and get your house in order before you try to get mine.

redrum3005
0
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redrum3005 10/11/09 - 12:19 am
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Ok the people are truly

Ok the people are truly getting worried now so they have to start trying to defame others WOW!. And what does a persons kids have to do with a political campaign? We are working to try to fined the best person for the job. Lets talk about everyones dirt not just the person whom you fear your candidate will lose to. You are not very smart putting your neighbors job at risk because anyone with any computer knowledge can easily as I have map your IP Address and find out your true Identity. I won't put your true name out just yet. You are putting down a lot of the residents of district 1 by saying negative things about a young women who has shown the GUTS to atleast try to bring change to her life and also the lives of others. Even though candidates know that in politics everything in their past will be investigated and exposed, this women chose to still put herself out there. So people lets look at all the issues each candidate has brung to this race for district 1 seat and debate who's past is more harmful than the others. Hopefulforaugusta please use common sense and stop trying to hurt eveyone but Butch Plamer.

involved
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involved 10/11/09 - 12:23 am
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papadan, if you really want

papadan, if you really want to know what the katrina leadership project and it takes all of us look it up. as for your useless comments about someones children you need to be real careful what you say . you do not know the status of their father(s) as you say so check your self. If there is a real issue with Ms. Jenkins address it , don't try to use someones children. that is so tacky and inhumane. politics are politics and children are children... learn the rules...

Emerydan
10
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Emerydan 10/11/09 - 01:18 am
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If anyone had any interest in

If anyone had any interest in defaming Ms jenkins, it certainly would not be Aitkens or Palmer. I am sure both of them welcome her being in the race. I am sure though the Fennoy camp is none too pleased with her being in the race as she would most likely take votes from his base. I do find her positions on the TEE center and being very friendly with the DDA a bit suspicious.. but that doesn't prove anything. But if anyone had something to gain from her being out of the race it would be Fennoy.

redrum3005
0
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redrum3005 10/11/09 - 10:19 am
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Has anyone heard Ms. Jenkins

Has anyone heard Ms. Jenkins say she supports the TEE center? Our like I heard at the Harrisburg forum her said have a Town Hall meeting and inform the people of where this TEE Center things stands and work from that point and listen to what the people want after all the information is out. And I say to all stop slinging mud thats the same old no good politics people are tired of. As for whom is supporting whom and posting these comments I don't care. I take my hat off to all of the candidates for atleast stepping up to work toward us all having a better CITY.

redrum3005
0
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redrum3005 10/11/09 - 10:54 am
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People it is a shame that we

People it is a shame that we as so called Adults are acting like children. Not everyone that receives public assistance is a no good person. Not every women that has a child out of wed lock is a welfare queen. What about the hard working woman or man who gets laid off and public assistance is their only recourse to holding their families together or Secton 8 gives them that leg back up to getting their life back in order. People stop name calling and help find the solutions to the problems. We need safe clean places for our children to go and learn and grow. Where our children are around positive role models and have the love and support of their community and not feel like they are outcast. We as adults need to lead. My hats off to all the candidates for atleast stepping up to the plate for change.

speaktruth
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speaktruth 10/19/09 - 10:15 am
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Well spoken redrum3005!! I

Well spoken redrum3005!! I agree 100%!

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