By Terri Ferguson Smith / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Candidates for city elections are announcing their intentions, including three who are vying for the City Council position in Ward Two.
At a press conference on Tuesday, incumbent Ward Two Councilwoman Mary Perry announced her plans to seek another term
"My candidacy is to try to see if Meridian can move forward and to see if streets, roads, and the people in general can be helped by the things that I can do," Perry said. "I won't be doing them by myself because you know the city is run by all of us. If citizens will let us know what is needed, we'll do everything we can to try to see that it's done."
Perry was first elected to fill an unexpired term in 1999. She was reelected in 2001, 2005, and 2009.
"I feel that I'm still capable of doing a good job for the city," Perry said.
Perry said issues uppermost on citizens' minds right now are streets and roads, crime, keeping trash off the streets and making sure that Meridian has an opportunity for growth.
"People are looking for the economy to grow and if we can help grow it, we will," she said. "I never say I can do it all. It has to be done with the help of others."
Nathaniel L. Pringle is also seeking the post of Ward Two. He is running as a Democrat.
"I feel that it is time for a change in Ward Two," Pringle said. "For one, I'll bring new blood and new ideas. My concern is to correct some of the shortcomings in infrastructure."
Pringle said he also wants ot upgrade the pay scale for the police department and fire department. He said he believes that will help retain officers longer and they will be more effective because they will get to know the community better and the community will get to know them.
Pringle also wants to work on streets.
"We need to upgrade the quality of the streets in Meridian and we need more lighting," Pringle said. "We need to make our city look better."
Pringle said he owned his own business for 30 years.
Martin M. Jack is also a Democratic candidate seeking the office of Ward Two. An electrician, Jack is an electrical instructor at Ross Collins Career and Technical Center.
"I want to see some improvements in Meridian. I think we need to hire more police officers," Jack said. "We need to do something about crime at this time. Crime is a problem. We have citizens in Meridian who are afraid to come outside — not just at night time but in the daytime.This needs to be taken care of."
Jack said he also wants to see better streets in Meridian and he wants the city to look cleaner to attract businesses here. Jack said he also believes city employees should be hired and promoted based on merit, not on who they know.
Randy Hammond, who is retired from Peavey Electronics, is seeking the office of Ward Five Councilman.
Hammond says he sees governing as a process. He was involved in an organization called Grass Roots, which worked to get areas in Meridian cleaned up.
"I finally saw that if I'm going to get involved, this is what I need to do," Hammond said.
He said he has had several people who encouraged him to run.
"I know that there are probably a lot of good people who have tried to do a good job," Hammond said. "It's going to take something different from what we're doing."
He said he lives in the middle of Meridian and he and his neighbors have seen growth elsewhere in the city. He would like to see that growth expand.
"I won't say that anybody has done a good job or a bad job. It seems like we all have a lot of red tape to deal with in government," Hammond said. "I hope I can make a positive change."
Hammond said he would focus on enforcing ordinances and doing whatever he could to help the working class people of Meridian.
Incumbent Ward Five Councilman Bobby Smith has not yet filed qualifying papers.
Mayor Cheri Barry has filed qualifying papers to seek re-election for a second term.
The qualifying deadline for city elections is March 8, at 5 p.m. at Meridian City Hall.
Party primaries will be held May 7; runoff elections, if necessary, will be held May 21. The general election is set for June 4.