‘I believe in the future of our city.’
Southern Miss graduate student and two-term Student Government Association President Jeffrey George announced his candidacy for the Hattiesburg City Council Jan. 23. George, 23, will run as a Republican candidate in Ward 1, which includes The University of Southern Mississippi and the Lake Terrace Convention Center.
“I am running for City Council because I believe in the future of our city,” George said. “At a time when we are in great need of a different way forward, I plan to bring a different perspective and new energy to the city council. We have a lot of potential and all the assets necessary to be a great city, but I think we need new leadership and some fresh ideas brought to the table to get us moving forward in the right direction.”
George is currently a graduate student in the Trent Lott National Center at Southern Miss, where he is researching economic development and workforce trends. Originally from Covington, La., George moved to Hattiesburg in 2012 to attend Southern Miss and served as SGA president from 2014 – 2016.
“[I] absolutely fell in love with this city,” George said. “The people, the culture we have here. All the different unique things that make Hattiesburg what it is. It’s the place I want to build a life and be here for the long term.”
In August, Kim Bradley, who was in his third term as city councilman for Ward 1 and served as president of the council, announced he would be stepping down.
George said his time serving at Southern Miss has prepared him to step up and lead Hattiesburg.
“Me serving as SGA president and having the opportunity to represent the 15,000 students that call Southern Miss home has given me a unique perspective on things,” George said. “It’s given me the ability to be innovative in the way that I reach out to people and to talk to different groups of people.”
While at Southern Miss, George also served on University President Rodney Bennett’s executive cabinet, where he helped make decisions that would affect the entire university. George also had the opportunity to go before the Mississippi legislature to lobby for more funding for higher education.
“Those experiences have really set me up to understand how our government works and what we need to do to work together,” George said. “It’s going to take a lot of different parts and a lot of different people working together to get our city on the right track.”
George said his goal is to make the council more transparent and work with the people to strategically plan for Hattiesburg’s future.
“I want to bring a fresh voice to advocate for people that feel they aren’t represented,” George said. “I want to improve the communication and transparency that’s coming from the council. Those little things will help our council be more accountable and the citizens more informed about what’s going on.”
George graduated from Southern Miss in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in marketing. He was inducted into the Southern Miss Student Hall of Fame Class of 2016.
The City Council primaries will be held May 2, and the general election will take place June 6. To vote in the primaries, residents must be registered to vote by the April 1 deadline.