By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Mayor Jason Shelton received national attention recently on cable news network MSNBC, which identified the first-term elected official as one of four rising stars to watch in state politics.
The left-leaning cable news network mentioned the Democratic mayor in one of a continuous series of political profiles of all 50 states. The Daily Rundown, a morning program with Chuck Todd, featured Mississippi’s “rising stars” on the Friday broadcast, appearing online Monday.
Shelton, 38, has received widespread praise for his handling of the aftermath of the shooting death of one police officer and the wounding of another in December and the city’s response to the April 28 tornado.
“He’s credited with showing strong leadership in both crises,” the MSNBC program host said of Shelton.
A producer for the show said it asked journalists from throughout the state (including this reporter) and the cable channel did its own research to help determine which politicians – two Democrats and two Republicans – to feature. Other Mississippi political leaders featured are Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber, a Democrat, state Treasurer Lynn Fitch and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, both Republicans.
Shelton began his first term in elective office in July 2013, the first Democrat elected as Tupelo mayor since 1981.
“It’s flattering to be recognized,” Shelton said Monday. “But the thought of us doing a great job is the result of a great team, not any one person.”
Supporters often encourage Shelton to consider seeking a higher office.
The mayor with a libertarian side has emphasized fiscal conservatism during his relatively short time as mayor. Even supporters of his 2013 Republican opponent have said the attorney has impressed them with his willingness to work with others.
The state GOP unsuccessfully tried to defeat Shelton and three other Mississippi Democratic mayoral candidates in 2013 elections.
As for the Tupelo mayor’s political future, he seemed open to a higher office when asked, but likely not this decade.
“Certainly not at the moment,” Shelton said. “I plan on running for re-election in Tupelo in 2017.”