Arkansas Peace & Justice Hero (runs for Political Office)

ARKANSAS PEACE  &  JUSTICE HERO

Enters Pine Bluff Primary Contest

“I am pleased and grateful to enter the Democratic Party primary and announce my candidacy for Ward 3 Alderman for the City of Pine Bluff,” declared Michael McCray. “I want to continue the development efforts that I started while serving on the Pine Bluff Aviation Commission. I am very proud of what former Mayor Carl Redus started with the redevelopment of the Pine Bluff Municipal Airport and look forward to continuing and expanding this model of community economic development throughout our Port City.”

“As a member and chair of the Aviation Commission, I was responsible for Grider Field’s inclusion in Pine Bluff’s HUD 2005 Consolidated Plan and eligibility for Community Economic Development Funding. I attracted the first minority business contractor as an operator of the diner / restaurant lease in the 850+ acre facility at Grider Field. During my tenure, the Airport Commission leveraged $40,000 in City funding into a $350,000 development project (T-Hangers) and I spearheaded a major Terminal Rehabilitation Project, a multi-phased $1.5 million dollar expansion, which was the first major construction project at the Pine Bluff Municipal Airport in nearly 30 years.

The Pine Bluff Municipal Airport is a $3 Million General Aviation facility that literally changed Pine Bluff from an agricultural economy to a diversified base with a mixture of industry and agriculture. Grider Field serves as the only ILS-equipped, jet capable airport in southeast Arkansas; it is a designated reliever for Little Rock National Airport and hosted a recent visit by the First Lady, Michelle Obama and the Arkansas Congressional Delegation.

McCray continues, “I have a passion for economic development and I am a champion for the underdog. I desire to become a “servant-leader” for all of the citizens and residents of Pine Bluff, and the theme for my candidacy is putting Pine Bluff… First. My platform focuses on comprehensive development:

 

Community Development

Economic Development

Human Development

UAPB / SEARK

Small Business & Industry

Faith-Based Organizations

Affordable Housing

Small Business League

Children, Families & Youth

Civic & Social Groups

Minority Contracting

Education & Job Training

 

Michael McCray previously served as the Deputy Director for the Metroplex Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), a Faith-Based Community Development Organization affiliated with T.D. Jakes Ministries. He was the Project Manager for a 400+ acre Master Planned Mixed-use Development that contemplated affordable and market rate housing, senior independent and assisted living complex, K-12 private school, performing arts center, community center, commercial and retail development, hotel/conference center and inter-modal transit development.

 The only child of two college professors, McCray attended nursery school at UAPB and grew up grew up on its rolling campus. He worked as a work-study student at Florida A&M University while he attended their prestigious School of Business and Industry where he completed his B.S. Degree in Economics. McCray traveled to Washington, DC for graduate school and campaigned for Governor Bill Clinton when he ran for President—and won. Afterwards, McCray began working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture while he attended Georgetown University Law Center at night.

McCray concludes, “I was accepted into the JD / MBA joint degree program at Georgetown, but I completed my MBA concurrently at Howard University which offered a concentration in finance. During the day, I worked on the Federal Empowerment Zone Program, a White House Initiative that was jointly administered by HUD and USDA. I was able to combine my father, Parnell McCray, passion for computer science with my mother, Dr. Jacquelyn McCray, love for housing development when I pioneered new technology for community and economic development for the $2.2 Billion EZ/EC Initiative.

“I served as the chief technology speaker for three White House Empowerment Zone Conferences and numerous Regional Enterprise Community Conferences. As such, I shared the stage with Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater, and HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo (now Governor for New York). I administered two high-profile websites, the White House (CEB) server and the server for Rural Development. I introduced state-of-the-art websites complete with e-Commerce, video conferencing, GIS and data-mining; I even conducted a virtual reality tour of the White House for Vice President Gore.”

McCray served with distinction as a Community Development Specialist for Rural Development at USDA, but was retaliated against after he reported $40 million in waste, fraud and abuse in the federal program and for his ardent support for Black Farmers and Alvin Brown, an African-American Deputy Administrator, who is the former Mayor of Jacksonville, Florida. As a result, McCray became a federal whistleblower and outspoken public interest advocate.

McCray co-founded the International Association of Whistleblowers (IAW) and is the General Counsel for the Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW/LEF), which champions equal employment opportunity. He is an active member of the No FEAR Coalition, which promotes and supported the passage of the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation Act (No FEAR) of 2002—the first civil rights law of the 21st Century. McCray is also the chief organizer for the Whistleblower Summit for Civil and Human Rights, an annual conference that takes place on Capitol Hill.

In 2008, Michael McCray received statewide recognition for outstanding work in peace and social justice when he was recognized by the OMNI Center For Peace, Justice & Ecology as an ARKANSAS PEACE  &  JUSTICE HERO in Fayetteville, Arkansas. McCray is also the author of Race, Power & Politics—the Inside Story of ACORN.

 

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