Newcomer faces incumbent in Ward 4

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

The candidates
Rhonda Betts, R
* CONTACT: (662) 315-2678 or at firestationno1@msn.com
* DOB: 7-4-68
* FAMILY: Married, two children
* WORK: Former owner, Fire Station No. 1 BBQ and R-Style Clothing
* SCHOOL: Itawamba Community College, real estate
* CHURCH: First Baptist Church
* OTHER EXPERIENCE: First Quality of Life Committee, Member of the Lee County Republican Club, notary public, Awana teacher, worked for three law firms, including public defender of Aberdeen, continued education in real estate and business.
Nettie Davis, D (i)
* CONTACT: (662) 842-5506 or at nettiedavisward4@bellsouth.net
* DOB: 7-31-41
* FAMILY: Married, two children, two grandchildren
* WORK: Retired school teacher
* SCHOOL: Bennett College, Greensboro, NC
* CHURCH: St. Paul United Methodist Church
* OTHER EXPERIENCE: Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and an active participant in the Park Hill Neighborhood Association, and serves as council liaison to the Convention and Visitors Bureau and Tupelo Redevelopment Agency

TUPELO – Ward 4 voters will choose between experience or a fresh start when they select their next City Council representative June 2.
Political newcomer Rhonda Betts will try to oust two-term incumbent Nettie Davis in the general election, taking inner-city constituents in a new direction. But Davis seeks a third term, citing her achievements since first taking the post eight years ago.
While in office, the artist and retired school teacher launched the Adopt-A-Spot litter eradication program, established the Green Street Grove park and started the 4-Ward Festival to bring residents and police officers together.
If elected, the 67-year-old Democrat said she would focus on improving qualify of life, continue supporting the Major Thoroughfare Program, work to place more women and minorities in high-level municipal positions, and encourage the development of a regional transportation system.
“Working as a councilwoman for our city is a full-time job,” Davis said in a previous interview. “I have always felt that it is an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of this community.”
Betts, 40, serves on the city’s Quality of Life Committee and was co-owner of Fire Station No. 1 BBQ, which closed earlier this year. She also owned R-Style Clothing, which has closed, as well.
If elected, the mother of two school-age children said she will throw her energy into supporting public education as a way to ensure the city’s success because “without good schools, you can’t have good neighborhoods.” she said.
Betts, a Republican, also said she’d foster better relations among municipal workers, support small businesses, promote the city’s Elvis Presley heritage, and represent all citizens equally, regardless of skin color.
“My ward is a minority ward, but I don’t see color in Tupelo. We have no room for racism here,” said Betts, who is white, in a previous interview. “We need to give of ourselves, not to ourselves.”
Ward 4 is located in the heart of the city and is one of Tupelo’s two minority wards. It includes most of downtown and several historic residential neighborhoods, including Park Hill, Highland Circle and the Jefferson Street area.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.