Meridian Star

May 5, 2013

What the candidates for City Council Ward 2 have to say...

from staff reports
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Office Seeking: City Councilman for Ward Two

    Party: Democrat

    Name: Kenneth Dustin Markham

    Occupation: Attorney

    Education: 2003 Meridian High School graduate; 2005 Meridian Community College — AA Degree/University Transfer; 2007 Jackson State University — BA Political Science; 2010 Thomas M. Cooley Law School — Juris Doctor.

    A little about myself: A Native of Meridian and son of Robert and Ann Markham. I am the secretary of the Lauderdale County Bar Association, member of the Board of Directors for both the Meridian/Lauderdale County Boys and Girls Club and Redline Community Development Committee, volunteer with the Boys Scouts of America Troop 5, and Study Buddy for T.J. Harris Elementary School. I am a Member of First Union Missionary Baptist Church.

    Why I am seeking office: As a lifetime resident of Ward 2, I want to bring fresh ideas and progressive outlooks to take the city of Meridian to new heights. I want to be attentive to the needs of the citizens of Ward Two as there are a number of issues both directly and indirectly related to our citizen's quality of life. As for the city of Meridian as a whole, it is time for the city to adhere to its financial responsibility by spending money more efficiently and effectively, repair our infrastructure correctly so that project spending can be allocated over an extended period of time rather than all at once, decrease crime, and enhance the Meridian Public School District and other programs, making our students more comprehensively established when they graduate.

    The most pressing issue facing Meridian and what I will do to address it: The most pressing issue is crime. Our citizens deserve to feel safe. I would first work with the Meridian Police Department to assess how effective current practices are. Then, I would  plan to make our city as proactive as is possible. I want our officers to have the best available technology to support their efforts in lowering our crime rates.

    I want to confirm a police chief in place that will have the trust of both the citizens and officers. Within the last year, the city has taken some steps in the right direction, but we can do more.

    Why I feel I am most qualified to fill this position: I am a native. I am driven. I am up to the challenge. I see the tremendous potential that Meridian has for growth. I am concerned with some of the same issues that other citizens are concerned about. As an attorney, I have acquired skills that are important for this position such as dissecting problems and issues analytically, critical thinking, problem solving, social and communicative skills. In managing my law practice, I know the meaning of efficiency and how to effectively budget. I want the best for Meridian.

    Office Seeking: Councilwoman, Ward 2

    Party: Democrat

    Name: Mary A. B. Perry

    Education: Jackson State College, bachelor's degree; Mississippi State University, master's degree; further study at Jackson State College, Valparaiso University, Southern University, and the Mississippi Education Administrative Leadership Institute.

    A little about myself: Mary Annie Vernell Brewster Perry is the second of seven children born to Jesse, Sr. and Minnie S. Brewster. She is married to William H. Perry Sr. and is the mother of three children. She is also a grandmother and a great grandmother. She is a member of St. John Missionary Baptist Church, where some of her past and present involvement includes youth director, Sunday School teacher, superintendent, trustee, deaconess, ministry mission leader and Russell-Riley Circle member.

    She was named teacher of the year twice, was president of Association of Meridian Educators, board member of the State Teacher's Association, and an IPD instructor for the state.

    Politically, Mary's involvement included state president and parliamentarian for Democratic Women, Chair of Lauderdale County, and was named Outstanding Democratic Elected Official for the Third Congressional District in 2007. Her hobbies include reading, cooking, serving as a mentor to youth and bowling.

    Why I am seeking office: I am seeking the office of Councilwoman Ward Two to serve citizens. My plans are to listen, weigh all advice, and do my utmost to make decisions for the good of all the citizens. It is also my desire to be the voice and advocate for individual citizens who feel they have no one looking out for their concerns because everyone deserves to be heard, protected and have their issues resolved.

    If re-elected, efforts will continue being made to seek innovative ways to improve Meridian's economy, provide jobs, reduce crime, seek affordable housing, improve the city's overall image and help build a fiscally sound community through partnership with public and private entities.

    The most pressing issue facing Meridian and what I will do to address it: The most pressing issues facing Meridian are limited jobs, crime, replacing homes and businesses on the tax roll, and the economy in general. If re-elected, I will continue working with EMBDC to find businesses for our city and using resources gained through training and networking to help solve other issues.

    I feel qualified for this position because of my love and care for the citizens of Meridian and how people are treated; especially when they are seeking solutions to their problems.

    Also, as councilwoman I have earned certification at the state and national level with more than 200 hours of training for elected officials in order to be abreast of laws and ways to effectively serve the citizens of Ward Two and the city of Meridian. Many other ideas of come from networking with fellow councilmen from other cities and states.

    Thanks to the citizens who elected me in the past. My prayer is that you will support and vote for me in the coming election. Thank you for your consideration of me as your candidate. May God bless and keep each of you in his care.

    Office seeking: City Council, Ward 2

    Party: Democrat


    Name: Terry L. Stennis


    Occupation: Chief Financial Officer, Noxubee County School District

    Education: Associates of Arts, Business Administration, East Mississippi Community College; Bachelor of Business Administration, Mississippi State University; Master of Business Administration, University of Phoenix.

    A little about myself: I am married to Monica Stennis. We have three children, Courtney, Terrance and Summer. All of my children are enrolled in the Meridian Public School system and participate in a variety of activities. I am a Christian and faithfully serve my church as a deacon and minister of Music. I actively participate as a volunteer/coach of the First Tee of Meridian.

    Why I am seeking office: I am seeking the office of City Council because the citizens of Ward 2 deserve to have a safe and prosperous city in which to live, work and worship. As the next city councilman in Ward 2, I will work relentlessly to clean up Ward 2, repair streets, improve lighting and most importantly work to provide support to existing businesses while actively seeking to expand job and educational opportunities in and around the city of Meridian.

    The most pressing issue facing Meridian and what I will do to address it: Unfortunately, crime has emerged as one of the most pressing issue facing Meridian and Marion. A close tie is the lack of job opportunities. As City Councilman, I will work closely with existing employers to determine if the city can do anything to assist with expansion. Next, I will actively work with EMBDC, the Mississippi Development Authority and the East Central Planning and Development District to determine what the city can do to attract more businesses and industry our city.

    Why I feel I am most qualified to fill this position: Under the current governmental structure in Meridian, the job of City Councilman is to make policy and oversee the city budget. I have worked as a business professional for over 20 years making policy. For the past eight years, I have directed all of the financial operations of the Noxubee County School District. As CFO, my main duties are to develop and publish a budget annually. It is certainly important that we love the city but now more than ever we need qualified individuals leading this city.

    Join with me citizens of Ward 2 and On May 7th, Vote Terry L. Stennis, city councilman, Ward 2.