Candidates begin qualifying for Lee County mayoral races

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

There will be no exciting presidential race or contested Senate seats in Mississippi this year but 2013 will bring municipal elections.
Outside of Tupelo, six candidates have formally qualified to run in Lee County towns and cities. Numerous others have begun the qualifying process, which requires gathering signatures in many cases.
Party primaries in the communities that have them are May 7, with the general election June 4. In some municipalities, all candidates run as independents.
Candidates have until March 8 to qualify for all elected municipal positions. Qualification is completed through the city clerk of the respective municipality.
SALTILLO
Saltillo Mayor Bill Williams announced he would not be run again but current Police Chief Steve Brooks and lifetime resident Rex Smith have both qualified to run for the office.
Brooks, who is filing paperwork to qualify with the Democratic party, said he had residents approach him about running when they found out Williams would not seek another term.
“I decided I would give it a shot and I hope I do get elected,” the 53-year-old police chief said. “I want to keep moving the city forward and I think we can do that. There are a lot of projects out there that need to be done that I see.” He has been the chief of Saltillo Police for 11 years.
Smith, who qualified as a Republican is a surveyor who said his land development experience will help. “I have an interest in the way Saltillo is developing,” said the 55-year-old candidate and owner of Landmark Surveying. “I’m running because I want what’s best for Saltillo.”
VERONA
Robert Trice, 60, of Verona, ran for mayor four years ago and missed the mark but wants to give it another shot.
“I just believe that it’s time for a change in Verona,” said the retired Tupelo fireman and Verona police officer. “We are struggling a little bit and I believe it’s because we continue to do things the same way. I believe if we want change, we have to change the way we do things.”
Incumbent Mayor Bobby Williams has yet to finish his qualifying papers but the 73-year-old mayor said he began the paperwork Monday.
“I’ve been here almost 12 years and I think with the help of the board and all of our departments we’ve made some improvements in Verona and I want to be here when we continue those.”
Neither candidate has filed with a party because candidates run independently in Verona municipal elections.
NETTLETON
Nettleton Mayor R.V. Adams has qualified to run for his second full term. The 65-year-old mayor has held the office for five years, winning a special election toward the end of Brandon Presley’s term when he was elected Mississippi Public Service Commissioner.
“Nettleton is my hometown,” he said. “I’ve been here my whole life and I’ve got a lot of things started I want to continue.”
Adams said when he took office the town had no manufacturing jobs and now it has two furniture companies that provide 600 jobs.
Jimmy Taylor, 68, of Nettleton, said his 33 years in the Army and National Guard and 27 years in manufacturing make him a good candidate. He’ll oppose Adams in the Democratic primary.
“I want to help the people in Nettleton and I think I’ve got some qualifications to do that and help the city itself grow,” he said.
Taylor has lived in Nettleton for 21 years.
SHANNON
Incumbent Mayor Ronnie Hallmark, 58, will seek a third term of the town where he has lived his entire life. “There are some more things I would like to get done before I leave office,” he said. “I would love to see, for example, some water lines replaced.”
Hallmark, who qualified as a Democrat, has no opponent so far.
BALDWYN
Mayor Michael James will be seeking a second term in Baldwyn. “We just have some things going on and are headed in a good direction,” said the 48-year-old lifetime resident of Baldwyn. “I would like to continue on and see some projects finished. I want to make the community a place our folks like to live.”
No candidate has filed to challenge James, who will run again as a Democrat.
PLANTERSVILLE
No one has submitted qualifying paperwork to run for mayor in Plantersville but incumbent mayor Gloria Holland plans to run again.
Holland, 60, said she has picked up her paperwork and plans to file to run for her third term. “I work hard and I’ve been told I’ve done a good job,” she said. “There are things we’ve started that are in the process and I would like to continue that.”
Plantersville candidates run as independents.
SHERMAN
No one has qualified to run for mayor in Sherman but incumbent Mayor Ben Logan, 49, has picked up his paperwork and plans to run again.
“We have a lot going on right now with two major public works projects and an annexation,” Logan said. “There are some things we need to finish.” Logan will be seeking his second full term. He also served from November 2000 until June 2001.
Sherman candidates run as independents.
GUNTOWN
No one has qualified to run in Guntown, where candidates run as independents, as of Thursday. Incumbent Mayor Robert Herring said after four years as mayor, eight as sheriff and four as Justice Court judge he will be “hanging it up.”
jb.clark@journalinc.com