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GOP state Rep. Barker running for mayor of Hattiesburg

TOBY BARKER

Third-term Republican state Rep. Toby Barker says he is running for mayor of Hattiesburg.

The city’s Democratic mayor, Johnny DuPree, said months ago that he will seek a fifth term this year.

The Hattiesburg American reports Barker announced his candidacy in a news release Thursday. He says he wants to unify the city by focusing on “quality education, state-of-the-art infrastructure and strong neighborhoods.”

The 35-year-old Barker previously worked as director of the Southern Mississippi Business Assistance Center. He has lived in Hattiesburg since 2000 and was elected to the state House in 2007. He is currently chairman of the House Performance Based Budgeting Committee.

Many Mississippi cities are holding elections this year, and candidates’ qualifying deadline is March 3.

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