By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Looking around at the folks in his campaign headquarters Thursday, Jason Shelton saw a cross-section of city residents he hopes will send him to City Hall in June.
The group was comprised of recent college graduates, members of the AARP, blacks, whites, Democrats and even the occasional Republican. They wore blue and yellow campaign stickers and talked about the 36-year-old attorney who could represent a new generation of leadership for Tupelo as its next mayor.
“I’m running for mayor and I need your help,” the Democrat said to applause.
With no primary opponent, the Tupelo native will face Republican Fred Pitts in the general election. Pitts, a longtime business owner serving his first term as Ward 2 city councilman, touts his experience in the private sector and knowledge of navigating municipal government.
Shelton’s headquarters is at 1601 West Main St. Pitts opened his office Wednesday, also on West Main Street
Shelton, who graduated from Mississippi State University in two and a half years, said he’s a fast learner and offers voters someone who can convince young, “working families” to stay in the city and others to move here.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. did not seek a second term.
While heavy on asking for votes, Shelton appears reluctant to give opinions on city actions in the current administration, such as neighborhood redevelopment efforts and the decision to build a new aquatic center at Veterans Park.
Having filed paperwork to run for mayor the week for the qualifying deadline, Shelton promised to have substantive details soon on policies.
On Thursday, Shelton’s supporters seemed to care more about his character, efforts to help others and his youth as reasons to support his campaign.