I am excited about the possibility, and the opportunity, to move from the private sector to the public sector and provide leadership to Tupelo – a city that I love.
Our nation’s Founding Fathers envisioned private citizens – farmers, shopkeepers, teachers – contributing to their communities as volunteers, then stepping forward and taking their turn serving each other as elected representatives.
Since my years as a student at Tupelo High School in the late 1960’s, I have tried to do my part to make Tupelo a better place to live for all of us: as a member of THS’s first integrated football team, as a volunteer worker and eventually the leader of causes that I believe are doing God’s work right here – right now: The Good Samaritan Free Clinic, Habitat for Humanity, the United Way, the Tupelo Police Athletic League, the CDF, and serving as a Big Brother (mentoring an African-American young man from 1st grade to THS).
Not only have I enjoyed this work, but it has given me the opportunity to work alongside some of the finest people in the world – men and women from all over Tupelo who have a real sense of giving back; and men and women who, when once given a helping hand, join in to help others.
This work has taught me The Tupelo Spirit – a spirit that is positive, inclusive, creative – a spirit of cooperation that results in progress.
Like many Tupeloans I have been disappointed in the lack of that spirit displayed in meetings of our City Council these past four years. As their deliberations became more acrimonious and divisive, I began seriously considering offering myself as a candidate for mayor.
With a sense of humility, I believe I have the ability to bring consensus back to city government. I have a history of involving citizens in successful decision-making, and I am committed to leading an administrative team that is well qualified and represents the diversity and strength of our citizenry.
In the collection of his writings, “The Measure of Our Days,” Gov. William Winter writes: “The building of a sense of community is an indispensable element of leadership.”
I believe I can do that for our city.
Educationally, I am prepared. I am an honors graduate of Tupelo High School (and Balfour Award recipient); and an honors graduate of Vanderbilt University. While earning my law degree at the University of Mississippi Law School I served as an editor of the Mississippi Law Journal and was elected President of the Law School Student Body.
Professionally, I am prepared. I practiced law in Tupelo from 1976-1980; then entered our family retail business. Since 1987 I have served as President, leading Reed’s to become the Mississippi Business Journal’s first “Store of the Year” and “Lee County’s Friendliest Store” six years in a row. I am a hardworking taxpayer who knows what it takes to make payroll every two weeks. I understand budgets, income statements, balance sheets and will bring a fresh set of eyes and serious examination to our city finances – its challenges and its opportunities.
Most importantly, I have the honor of having been married to Lisa for 34 years; I have the respect of our two children; and the support of our large family. I have been humbled by the supporters who have joined this effort. Nothing I encounter as mayor will tempt me to put that trust – or my self-respect – in jeopardy.
My decisions will be based on what I believe is best for the whole city, and if I do disagree with someone, I will give them my reason. I know how to disagree without being disagreeable.
I have made only one promise during this campaign: to run a positive campaign; and I have kept that promise.
My visions for our city are these:
1. A good job for every man and woman in Tupelo who needs one.
2. A fresh start at City Hall – led by a consensus-builder and servant leader.
3. Safe, strong, attractive neighborhoods in every ward, and attractive public spaces.
4. Tupelo seen as “a center of lifelong learning” from pre-K through college and adult retraining.
5. Tupelo known as “Mississippi’s Healthiest City” in four years.
To accomplish these, I will, with input from our new City Council members, immediately establish citizen task forces to begin work.
There is a proverb that says:
“If you want to go quickly, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”
Join me and let’s make “Tupelo Better Together!”
Jack Reed, Jr. is the Republican nominee for mayor in Tuesday’s general election.
NEMS Daily Journal