By Barney Blakeney
Since deciding to seek election as the Charleston City Council Dist. 3 representative, Jason Sakran has knocked on some 1,200 doors and talked with hundreds of constituents. He wants to listen to them; he wants to hear their concerns. That’s what’s going to guide him if they give him the opportunity to be their voice on city council.
“I am asking for their vote, but most importantly I’m asking for their trust,” Sakran says. “I’ve talked to hundreds of voters and two common themes emerged – Number one, regardless of neighborhood many felt invisible and disconnected from local city government; Number two, many people commented about the need for visionary proactive leadership that is focused on our future,” he related.
Throughout his campaign, Sakran said he’s demonstrated his respect for the district’s past leadership on council. “My campaign has never been about us and them even though some people in the community want to paint things in those simple terms. I know most voters will see past that. I want to live in a City where people from different races, religions and ethnicities trust each other so we can end the cycle of institutional racism and prejudice that promotes policies that only benefit one group of people,” he says.
Sakran says he will bring a new energy to Dist. 3 that not only recognizes its needs, but can act to fulfil those needs. As Director of Kaleidoscope afterschool programs for Charleston County School District he notes, “Since taking over the Kaleidoscope after school program with Charleston County School District, we have significantly increased the number of under resourced kids we serve. We did this by proactively applying for federal grants and reorganizing the department to work more efficiently so we could better use our revenues and serve more students.
“In addition to increasing access and opportunity for poor students, the department went from operating with a $1 million deficit to a $500,000 surplus. All of this was accomplished in three years. If elected, I will bring the same type of leadership and passion to District 3,” he said. “My focus is not just on taking a position, but on how to follow through on those positions.”
Sakran says despite the diversity that exists in Dist. 3, he realizes there is much in common among communities on both sides of the Ashley River. With that in mind he will schedule regular meetings with representatives from all the communities to hear their ideas and to develop their vision for the future.
“Regardless of the fact that they live in different neighborhoods, everybody has some of the same concerns and want assurances their voice will be heard. I’ll form my opinions based on what I hear in those meetings. We know that in four years the district will be different. Among the first things we must do is fight further displacement,” he said.
“Identity politics has no place in 2019 because it appeals to our differences rather than our shared values and suggests people do not have the ability to make a decision and look past someone’s color or ethnicity,” Sakran emphasizes. “We have to lock arms and walk together not because we have the same skin color, but because we share the same values and goals for our families and our community. On November 5, let’s work together. I am asking for your vote and your trust.”