By Adam Armour/The Itawamba County Times
FULTON – Continued growth seems to be at the forefront of the minds of Fulton’s four mayoral candidates.
While the details differed, when asked about their priorities if elected, the mayoral candidates’ responses closely mirrored each other in one significant way: Fulton needs to keep growing. How this should be accomplished, however, depends on who’s being asked.
Independent candidate Joseph Alan Hisaw believes the answer lies in keeping taxes low and working hand-in-hand with local businesses, especially the small ones. The 25-year-old Tremont High School graduate and father of two said that city leaders should keep a close watch on the budget, making cuts wherever possible in order to reinvest those funds back into small businesses, thereby spurring growth.
For Democrat Lynette Weatherford, increasing public input on which projects should be funded, plus working closely with the local economic development council to help create better jobs among more industries is the key to Fulton’s continued growth. The current assistant city clerk said that, if elected, one of her goals will be the re-establishment of a local merchants association, which hasn’t been seen in Fulton since the 1980s.
Incumbent Paul Walker, a Democrat running for his fourth term as mayor, believes improving the quality of life throughout the city with better infrastructure and more jobs will bring growth to the area. Raising taxes, he said, has never been the way to do that. He believes his experience as mayor for the last 12 years, plus the contacts he’s made in the state capital during that time, will help move the city forward.
A one-time small business owner himself, Libertarian candidate Joshua Wood said he feels that cutting government spending and reducing government interference is the best way to help small businesses grow. Heavy-handed government regulations only stand in the way of the free market, he said; the best way to promote local growth is to cut government spending, lower taxes and let Fulton nurture itself.
Primary elections will be held Tuesday, May 7, with runoffs, if necessary, scheduled for May 21. The general election is set for June 4.