MSNBC: Tupelo mayor ‘rising star’ in state politics

Gov. Phil Bryant greets Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton when city leaders visited the Capitol in May to request state assistance for tornado recovery. Photo by Associated Press


Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton received national attention recently on cable news channel MSNBC, which identified the first-term elected official as one of four rising stars to watch in state politics.

The left-leaning cable news network mentioned the Democratic mayor as part of on-going continues political profiles of all 50 states, devoting a week to one or two. Morning program The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd featured Mississippi’s “rising stars” on the Friday broadcast, appearing online today.

Shelton, 38, has received widespread praise for the city’s involvement of the tragic shooting of two police officers resulting in one dying and response to the April 28 tornado.

“He’s credited with showing strong leadership in both crises,” the MSNBC program host said of Shelton.

A producer for the show said journalists from throughout the state (including myself) and the cable channel’s own research helped determine politicians to feature. Other Mississippi political leaders featured are Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber, state Treasurer Lynn Fitch and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves.

The mayor winning in July 2013 began his first time to serve in elected office and changed a longtime trend of Republicans serving in the position. He’s the first Democratic mayor elected in Northeast Mississippi’s largest city in 28 years.

“It’s flattering to be recognized,” Shelton said Monday. “But the thought of us doing a great job is the result of a great team, not any one person.”

Relatively frequently supporters encourage Shelton to consider seeking a higher office. The Democrat with a libertarian side has emphasized fiscal conservatism during his relatively short time as mayor. Even supporters of his Republican opponent have said the attorney has impressed with his willingness to work with others.

As for the Tupelo mayor’s political future, he seemed open to a higher office when asked but likely not this decade.

“Certainly not at the moment,” Shelton said. “I plan on running for reelection in Tupelo in 2017.”

See the video segment below, which turns to Mississippi politics at the 54 second mark. Click here to view a Daily Journal interview with Shelton to discuss his first year in office.