Cole. Image: Candice Cole/Facebook

Candice Cole couldn’t stay away.

She laughed as she quoted a line from Al Pacino in the Godfather 3: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

For the Washington, D.C. native who spent time here as a reporter for WJTV from May 2014 to June 2015, coming back to Jackson was for one reason: the people.

Cole returned in 2018 to take on the job of Communications Director for Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a role that puts her in the shoes of city spokesperson, too.

“It’s been a ride, an education in and of itself,” she said. “As a reporter, I’ll get in there and do my best. I was up for the challenge. I’m grateful they thought that much of me to ask me to come down and be a part.”

Cole’s first love is audio-visual storytelling with dreams to one day become a documentarian.

“There’s so much you can glean from just the look on somebody’s face or the tone in their voice,” she said of her efforts to build trust and get to the heart of a story.

When Cole was approached to move back in 2018, she remembered her connections here, noting Jackson’s sense of community.

Beyond that, she saw amazing possibilities for the city as a whole.

“I see Jackson booming! If we can continue on this track that the mayor and others are trying to take us, I mean, come on? Why wouldn’t you?”  

She mentioned the Fertile Ground project through Bloomberg Philanthropies, “That’s literally what is here,” she said. “Plant your seeds and watch them grow.”

During COVID-19, Cole hopes the trust she sought during past interviews is the same trust Jacksonians will place in her message now.

“These restrictive measures were not measures considered on a whim,” she explained. “Everything the mayor has put in place has been out of protecting the health and safety of every Jackson resident. When we ask you to stay home, please stay home. It’s not just you; it’s your grandmother or mother or whomever. You might be walking around and don’t know you have (COVID-19).”

Cole spoke of physical health but reminded Jacksonians not to forget another critical measure of wellness: mental health.

“Practice self-care and self-love. And let’s spread love. This might be the world telling us to slow down. Let’s get back to being human beings first.”  

Cole was a guest on MyCity Live, a new limited series on Instagram. See the full interview on IGTV.