Jay Randolph, who won a city commission seat last election but resigned before the term began, will run as a write-in candidate in November’s election.
Randolph contacted the Hendersonian last week to tell his intentions.
He said there are several issues he wants to address if he’s elected, but first on his want list would be replacing the current city manager style of government with a mayor-council style. He said important decisions need to be made by someone directly elected by voters, not a city manager who is appointed by elected officials.
A second initiative Randolph would pursue is to rename the current Martin Luther King Blvd. with Dixon Street, its original name, and then in turn, rename all of Second Street from the riverfront through downtown to Martin Luther King Blvd.
He’d also like to get city department heads to report directly to city commissioners, not the city manager.
“Everybody should be accountable,” Randolph said.
A fourth push of his would be to fix the staffing levels at the Henderson Police Department “before it really gets out of hand.”
Finally, he said he’d want to change the time for the Board of Commissioners’ regularly scheduled meetings to 5 p.m. Working people can’t attend the current 3 p.m. time, he said.
In the 2022 election, Randolph finished in fourth place, good enough to get him on the commission. But complaints about where he lives and subsequently his eligibility to be on the city commission led to his resigning before the term began.
In an interview with the Hendersonian, Randolph said that the residence where he was living, 8412 Green River Road, was about ¼ mile outside of city limits. He had assumed he was within city limits because his residency was on city water, and the properties that surrounded his, including the landfill, are city property, he said.
Randolph, though, said he takes responsibility for not investigating it further before filing to run.
Now, he said he lives within city limits and gave the Hendersonian the address at which he lives. The address is within city limits, but it could not be verified with the county clerk’s office because he has not yet filed the paperwork for a write-in candidate, according to the county clerk’s office.
The deadline to file to be a write-in is Oct. 25.
He said he had originally planned to file to appear on the ballot, but thought the deadline was Jan. 8 and missed the filing deadline. He again took responsibility for the error.
Randolph garnered 2,278 votes in that election, beating current Commissioner Nick Whitt by six votes. When Randolph resigned, Whitt was appointed until a special election could be held in November of last fall to fill the remaining year of the term.
Whitt ran against Dwight Williams in the special election and won the head-to-head matchup.
Those three candidates—Whitt, Williams and Randolph—were separated by a mere 88 votes. In November, all three will be vying for four seats, as well as incumbents Rodney Thomas and Robert Pruitt and newcomers Tom Williams and Kelsey Hargis.
Randolph, 53, is retired. He spent five years in the U.S. Army from 1988-1993 and made two tours to Iraq in that time.
He also ran his own carpet cleaning business from 2006-2019. He is a 1988 Henderson County High School graduate.
He hosts a podcast in which he delves into local issues called “Sessions with Jay.”
He also volunteers for the Chloe Randolph Organization, which is run by his wife, Kristie. The couple started the organization to raise awareness about domestic violence and advocate for victims. It was founded months after their daughter, Chloe, was murdered by her estranged husband in 2019.