Meridian Star

May 5, 2013

What the candidates for City Council Ward 4 have to say...

from staff reports
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Office seeking: Councilman Ward 4  

    Party: Democrat    

    Name: Craig Houston

    Education: 1987 Graduate of Meridian High School and attended The University of Southern  Mississippi.

    A little about myself: Son of Mr. and Mrs. Dorothy Houston; two sisters Tonya Lang and Sonja Hopkins, one brother Hubert Houston II. Lover of everything Meridian High School and Meridian, Old School R & B and Jazz; Mentor and volunteer in MPSD since 2000, chairman Meridian Juneteenth Heritage; Festival Committee Member Best for Ray Stadium Committee,  Secretary/Treasurer, Meridian Alumni Football Club.

    Why I am seeking office: We have spent too much money on things that are not pressing. When we spend money, especially large amounts of money we need to spend it on things that affect the day to lives of the citizens of Ward 4 and the city of Meridian. I am also running to address the crime issue. I feel we need to get more involve with the community building trust between the community and police through community policing. I feel it is unfair to pay a mortgage or rent and be afraid to come outside of your home. We owe it to the citizens of Meridian to keep them safe. We must encourage citizens to step up and speak out and know that they are perfectly safe and within their rights to do so.

    The most pressing issue facing Meridian and what I will do to address it: This goes to the heart of question 2, as to why I’m running. Public Safety. Our citizens have to know their city government and officials can work together with them to bring under control those that wish to disrupt and deprive us of our public safety. I would look at ways to increase the police budget for training, more officers on the streets, create more neighborhood watch programs, working with Meridian Public Schools in mentoring and creating a system where students can fill safe in sharing their concerns and knowledge where needed, create programs that lead to gang prevention and better decision making.

       Why I feel I am most qualified to fill this position: As a resident of Meridian and Ward 4 I have physically attended over 100 city council meetings, sat in on numerous other meetings that involved public interest volunteering and serving on boards or committees, thus, making a student of public policy welfare. I involve myself with the youth of this community in mentoring, trying to connect to connect with them (youth) in areas where I best fit and would most effective. I am an active member of Ward 4, who sees the daily needs of Ward 4, the potential of Ward 4, and the neglected needs of Ward 4. I have made a concerted effort to learn city government, city budgets, municipal laws, and board by-laws. I feel my interest and involvement has prepared me to be the Right Person for Ward 4 to be your City Council person.

    Office Seeking: City Council Ward 4

    Party: Democrat

    Name: Kim Houston

    Occupation: Multi-Line Insurance Agent/Owner with Shelter Insurance Company

    Education: Clarkdale High School Salutatorian Class of 1993; BS Degree Business Management from University of West Alabama Class of 1997

    A little about myself: I am married to Pastor Gary Houston. We have two children that attend Meridian Public Schools (Go OAKIES). I am a Christian and an active member of Porterville Zion Baptist Church where my father, Rev. James Barney, Jr. (Rebecca) is the pastor. I am an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc - Meridian Chapter where I serve as the Political Awareness, Social Action Team, and Sisterly Relations Chairperson. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I enjoy fishing, walking, and worship. I love inspiring people to be better and I am committed to public service.

    Why I am seeking office: I am seeking this office to bring new excitement, energy, and new ideas to the City Council table. If we truly want something different in Meridian, we need different people sitting at the table. My purpose is to work hard to strengthen our schools which in turn will strengthen our entire community and attract a variety of business opportunities. The needs of our community are great and the community needs someone that is visible, approachable, attentive, and available to try to meet those needs. My desire is to make Ward 4 a place that people feel secure, youth are inspired, and the community as a whole is living up to its full potential.

    The most pressing issue facing Meridian and what I will do to address it:  Our youth — I will implement a Future Leaders of Meridian program where we build partnerships/relationships with schools, churches, established youth programs and businesses. We will focus on youth that have potential but lack parental/financial support to expose them to new experiences, team building, and address self esteem issues. This will give our youth HOPE and this will help move them in a different direction.

    Why I feel I am most qualified to fill this position: I have a heart to serve others with no strings attached. I have been in numerous leadership roles and I can get things done. I am easy to talk to, ready to listen and I can be trusted. I have an open door policy and you will always be able to find me. I am not into politics but I am into people. I believe Meridian can and will become the Queen City again with the right kind of leadership. If Ward 4 is to go to the next level then Kim  is the best choice to make it happen.

    Office seeking: Councilman Ward 4

    Party: Democrat

    Name: Jesse E. Palmer Sr.

    Education: Meridian Public Schools, MIssissippi Industrial College, Holly Springs majoring in mathematics and science; earned Master's Degree at Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Ala.

    Occupation: A retired math teacher, football, basketball and baseball coach after 34 years in Meridian Public Schools and Lauderdale County Schools.

    A little about myself: I was elected to the Meridian City Council in 1989. I have been re-elected for six terms. I have served as president and vice president of the Meridian City Council. I was elected to Mississippi Hall of Fame in 2008, selected STAR teacher three times; selected to All-Conference Team eight times (four times in high school and four times in college). Member of Mt. Salem United Methodist Church, Pilgrim Hill United Methodist Church. Hobbies include singing, sports and politics.

    Was married to Lorene V. Shelby Palmer for 38 years until she passed away in 1984. They have seven children and 30 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren. Have been married to Lula P. Jones Palmer for 11 years.

    Why I am seeking office: It is very simple. 1) I have projects that have not been completed; 2) I want to have those charges that have been placed on your children's records expunged, wiped off. (School to prison pipeline; 3) I know this form of government and I know how to get things done; 4) I will stand up for what I believe and will never sell you out.