By Terri Ferguson Smith / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
Saying that there is a need for change in Meridian, Craig Houston announced his candidacy for Ward Four city councilman Thursday.
Standing on the steps of City Hall with supporters and family, Houston, who is looking to unseat longtime city councilman Jesse Palmer, said he believes Ward Four has been neglected.
"I believe we need to move in a different direction," Houston said. "I just want to do what I can to make it better."
Streets and sewers in Ward Four are in need of attention, he said.
"We have spent too much money on things that are not important," Houston said. "When we spend money, especially large amounts of money, we need to spend it on things that affect the day to day lives of the people of Ward Four and the people of Meridian."
Houston said the city needs to get its financial house in order.
"I'm also running to address the crime issue," he said. "I feel like we should get more involvement with the community to work together with the police department. I think it's unfair for someone to pay rent or pay a mortgage and be afraid to come outside or be afraid to go in their back yards or on their porches. That's not fair. We owe it to the citizens of Meridian to keep them safe. But the citizens need to step up and they need to speak out when they see something. We have to work together so that they feel comfortable speaking out."
He would like to support existing youth programs and find additional youth activities and education, he said.
A native of Meridian, Houston is a 1987 graduate of Meridian High School. Houston is an independent insurance agent.
"I love my hometown. I love my city. That's one of the reasons I'm running," Houston said.
To improve the economy, the city must first fix its infrastructure, he said.
"Our infrastructure has been neglected for so long," he said. "We need to form stronger bonds, we need to support our schools every chance we get. We have some good kids, some really good kids and we need to accentuate the positive."
Houston and Palmer are the only candidates for Ward Four. Both are running as Democrats.
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.