Three choices in Tupelo's Ward 1

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series on the Tupelo City Council races. Tuesday’s installment looks at Ward 2.

TUPELO – Voters in Ward 1 will choose among three City Council candidates in the June 2 general election.
It’s the only municipal race to feature more than two hopefuls.
The candidates are independent Clifton “Cliff” Brinkley, Democrat Patricia “Patsy” Griffin and Republican Markel Whittington.
All of them are political newcomers hoping to replace outgoing Ward 1 City Councilman Dick Hill, who decided not to run again after serving two terms.
Of the candidates, Brinkley has perhaps the most intimate knowledge of city government. He has worked for the municipality the past 18 years and currently manages the city’s code-enforcement division.
He also runs his own small construction business.
“If elected, my experience and knowledge of the daily operations of the city of Tupelo will be a plus,” Brinkley said in a recent Daily Journal survey.
The 50-year-old also wants to lower property taxes, make sure road projects are finished on schedule and increase police presence in neighborhoods.
Griffin, 47, admittedly has the least amount of municipal experience but said that’s an asset when it comes to breaking the political power network that has shaped local government the past few years.
“I’m an average person concerned about the city, and I’ve just always wanted to do this,” the Shannon High School English teacher and part-time Realtor said in an earlier interview.
She also promised to focus on road improvements, achieving unity on the council, and making wiser use of tax dollars if elected.
Next month’s election will be Whittington’s second time on the ballot. The small-business owner beat Republican opponent Mike Williams in the May 5 primary.
And though he’s new to politics, too, Whittington has made numerous contacts through his leadership positions with the Community Development Foundation and Boy Scouts of America Yocona Area Council.
“Using those years of experience working with some of the finest people in America, I offer my talents to Tupelo,” the 59-year-old said in his political announcement.
If elected, he vowed to support job creation efforts, improve unity and communication among elected leaders, and help reduce taxes.
Ward 1 stretches from the northwestern most tip of the city limits south to Butler Road and then east to Gloster Street and back north to the edge of town.
It includes the Tupelo Country Club and Bel Air golf course, much of the Joyner neighborhood and Beldeer, the Tupelo Furniture Market and the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo, as well as much of the McCullough Boulevard commercial district.


Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio