National News

From felon to Leavenworth City Commissioner: How Jermaine Wilson turned his life around

Posted November 10, 2017 10:42 a.m. EST

— Jermaine Wilson does not consider himself a failure.

Instead, the newly-elected Leavenworth City Commissioner considers himself a success story- especially after how he turned his life around.

"Don't allow your past mistakes to define who you are. When you make a mistake in life, you learn from that mistake and you move on," he told 41 Action News.

In 2007, Wilson was convicted of a felony and spent three years in prison for possession of Ecstasy. While locked away, Wilson said he became a Christian and decided to make it his mission to teach people not to make the same mistakes he did.

Eight years later, on May 6, 2015, his criminal record was expunged.

But Wilson was determined to continue to do good. He spoke to churches and juveniles at detention facilities, taught inmates how to write resumes and fill out job applications and established the Unity in the Community program.

Then, he decided to run for office to help bring the community together and reduce crime.

"God spoke to me and told me if I want me if I want to make a bigger impact, you have to start where the laws are being set up. And that's when God spoke to my heart about being a city commissioner," he said.

In Kansas, according to the Secretary of State's office, if any individual convicted of a felony completes the term of their sentence and re-registers to vote, they can seek public office.

According to unofficial voters from the county Tuesday, Wilson received 1,313 votes to become one of Leavenworth's newest city commissioners.

When he was sworn into office, he said his first mission will be to address blight in the city.