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Mayoral races across state taking shape

HATTIESBURG, STARKVILLE and LAUREL — The field of Hattiesburg mayoral candidates has widened with the announcement of Councilman Dave Ware for the city’s top office.

The Hattiesburg American reports the 41-year-old Ware, who is in his second term as councilman, will run as an independent.

Ware says goals for his administration would include an accountability system for city employees, through third party evaluators

Ware is the third announced candidate for mayor of Hattiesburg. Incumbent Mayor Johnny DuPree and Councilwoman Deborah Delgado, both running as Democrats, have announced intentions to run in the mayoral race.

Municipal elections will be held June 4.

In a separate item, Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman has announced he is running for a second term.

Wiseman, a Democrat, was first elected mayor in 2009.

Wiseman says in a statement that his priority in a second term will be advancing Starkville’s economic development interest.

He says he wants to proactively manage Starkville’s infrastructure by planning street, drainage, and sidewalk improvements three years in advance.

He says he will continue pursuing a mass transit program, making sure children are ready for kindergarten through the Excel by 5 program and growing the Mayor’s Youth Council and the youth summer work program.

Finally, Laurel Mayor Melvin Mack may be leaving the mayor’s office but not politics.

Mack told The Chronicle in Laurel he will not seek re-election but will, instead, run for a vacant city council post.

Mack plans to run for the city’s ward seven post held by Councilman Trey Chinn. Chinn recently said he was not running again. Mack’s home is in ward seven.

“My family and I started talking about it and I decided I would run for a councilman position,” Mack said. “I will get to focus on the ward I grew up in.”

Mack served on the Jones County Board of Supervisors for eight years and on the Laurel City Council for eight years.

“Now that I’ve served in both positions, I know more,” Mack said. “The council has more authority than the mayor. As mayor, you have to have at least four votes to get something approved. The council position will allow me to concentrate on ward seven.”

Mack was elected to his first term as the first African American mayor of Laurel in 2005 and re-elected in 2009.

As mayor, Mack said he concentrated on paving city streets and improving the city’s infrastructure with the ongoing water and sewer improvement projects. He also highlighted that more than 250 dilapidated houses have been torn down to improve the ascetics of the city.

The deadline for candidates to qualify for city elections is March 8.

Party primaries are May 7 with any runoffs on May 21. The general election is June 4.


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