Wiseman ready to put his education to the test in Starkville

STARKVILLE – Mr. MSU becomes Mr. Mayor next month.

A self-described “good government nerd,” 28-year-old attorney Parker Wiseman becomes Mississippi’s youngest mayor elected in a 10,000-plus city Tuesday.

His decision to run came during the summer of 2006, a suggestion by a friend involved with city government.

“He said, ‘You know, with your background and experience in other states, I think you could be a real asset,’” the Starkville native recalled. “I was flattered, but I completely dismissed it. It wasn’t where my life was headed.”

But, Wiseman said, as his mind turned to his adult career, thoughts grew of taking his talents home. “I kept coming back more and more to this thought of running for mayor.”

The past 13 months have been quite a whirlwind. Graduation from the University of Mississippi Law School in 2008. Marriage. A citywide campaign.

At the center of all his appreciation for the election success, Wiseman puts his wife, Lindsey, who just graduated from law school with honors in May.

“She jumped right smack into the mayor’s race,” he laughed, saying the former Mississippi College homecoming queen is a natural. “She doesn’t think it’s work. She says it’s meeting people.”

His city-government ideas come from years of study – a political science degree from Mississippi State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of North Carolina. At MSU he was elected president of the Student Association and later Mr. MSU.

His ideas also come from his genes. His father, Dr. Marty Wiseman, is a widely quoted political analyst.

“We knocked on every door in town six times,” a fatigued senior Wiseman said Tuesday night after his son won with 59.3 percent of the vote in the city of 23,000.

“How do people do this in a statewide campaign?”

He might find out firsthand if his son’s star continues to rise.

The younger Wiseman credits high school drama teacher Paula Mabry with giving him the skills to speak before large audiences. That confidence resonates today as he faces new challenges.

“Parker was one of those special students,” Mabry said. “I think he’s a born leader and will do a wonderful job as mayor.”

Wiseman’s administration takes office July 2, but before then, the mayor-elect plans personal meetings to help get to know each alderman and more fully understand their goals and aspirations.

“It’s very important to establish a trusting relationship,” he said.

“I believe there’s a right way and a wrong way to govern,” he added. “A big part of my job will be to give policymakers the best information possible to help them make good decisions.”

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal