By Terri Ferguson Smith / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Political newcomer Kim Houston says education will be the forefront of her campaign as she seeks the office of Ward Three councilwoman.
On Wednesday, Houston formally announced her intention to run as supporters gathered around her on the steps at City Hall.
"I am running because I believe it is time for a new day in Meridian Mississippi," Houston said. "I believe in the philosophy that strong schools produce strong communities and with that in mind, that is going to be the foundation of what I run on."
She explained that it is her belief that when a City Council meeting ends, the work is just beginning.
"As a leader I have a responsibility to go to different events, not just to say I was there, but to get information to take back to the people to empower the people," Houston said. "Then we empower the youth by showing up at the schools, giving them some real specifics about what we need. Then together we can impact the community as a whole."
With regard to the city's recent crime problems, Houston said it is not just the mayor or city council's problem.
"It has to do with all of us. We all have a responsibility, which goes back to strong schools produce strong communities," Houston said. "If we inspire our youth, give them something to believe in again, give them some leaders to believe in, some churches to believe in, and inspire them to do better and that there is a better way, I think that's going to cut some of the crime."
The City Council approves appointments to the Meridian Public School District School Board. The council also approves the district's budget. The city, by law, must adopt the school district's budget as presented.
Asked what she believes the role of the City Council is with regard to public schools, Houston said as a councilwoman, she would stay involved.
"Again, strong schools produce strong communities," Houston said. "As a leader, as a city council person, I plan to be at the school, building a relationship with the principals, finding out what that principal needs and then try to make sure that information is communicated to the mayor, who makes the appointments and looks for people within the community that can fit what we need within our school district."
Houston is a Shelter Insurance agent and is a graduate of Clarkdale High School. She has lived in Meridian for 12 years.
Her husband Gary is pastor of New Hope Blackwater Missionary Baptist Church.
Incumbent Barbara Henson, who has held the post since 1989, is seeking another term. Houston is running as a Democrat. Henson is running as a Republican.
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.