By Robbie Ward
TUPELO – Tupelo Rotary Club members today heard a preview of Mayor Jason Shelton’s State of the City address, which he’ll deliver at 4 p.m. at the BancorpSouth Conference Center.
The civic group scheduled the mayor to speak prior to weather conditions that led to postponement of the speech, intended to highlight Tupelo’s recent achievements and goals moving forward. If Shelton’s official speech later this afternoon follows his noon approach, he may improvise parts.
Shelton mentioned the value of city departments, employees, task forces and how the city responded to tragedy in December, when an armed robber shot two Tupelo Police Department officers, killing one and critically wounding the other. Shelton described the outpouring of community support at the FBI’s command center set up at the BancorpSouth Conference Center. People continued to bring food and other items of support as law enforcement worked to track down the man responsible.
“They’d say this is from somebody who cares,” Shelton said. “It just blew me away, that outpouring of support.”
The robber died less than a week later in Phoenix, Ariz., attempting to rob a bank.
Shelton, 37, shared thrills from his nearly eight months in office that the crowd of city employees, business and community leaders and others won’t hear. The first-time elected official shared fun perks of the job he didn’t expect when taking office in July.
“I got to drive a fire truck, ride in a helicopter, meet Priscilla Presley and so many other cool things,” he said. “The joys of the office have exceeded my expectations.”
Shelton plans to keep his speech in the 45-minute range today but had to wrap up a little sooner at the civic club’s lunch meeting. He urged those in attendance to witness the formal speech in person.
“The rest of it’s going to be brilliant,” Shelton joked. “The best is yet to come.”
The public is invited to attend the speech later today. The Daily Journal will have full coverage online later today, including video and the speech’s text, and in tomorrow’s print edition.