Independent councilman to run for mayor
Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2013 00:01
For the first time in over a decade, Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree may be getting a run for his money - and his position. Independent councilman Dave Ware announced his candidacy for mayor of Hattiesburg Monday evening at the historic Hattiesburg Train Depot. With more than 300 citizens in attendance, the momentum for Ware’s candidacy felt strong, especially in comparison to those of past Hattiesburg mayoral candidates.
The first introduction speaker at Monday’s event was Lhay Browning Thriffiley, a neighbor and close family friend of the Wares. Thriffiley discussed Ware’s dedication to his neighborhood and its improvement. An active member of his neighborhood association, Ware played an active role is restoring vacant and condemned homes in the area and even chartered the renovation of a historic, and condemned, elementary school.
“I have watched my community improve because of him,” Thriffiley said.
The second introduction speaker was Ware’s close friend and colleague Arthur Smith. Smith has been a city employee since 2005 and currently serves as a code enforcement officer. Smith reiterated Ware’s commitment to his community by describing how Ware paid out of pocket to help restore elderly neighbors’ homes and roofs. Smith continued with a story about the first time he confronted Ware about running for mayor, saying that Ware laughed and shrugged it off.
“The focus was never about Dave,” Smith said. “It was about helping people.”
Finally, Ware began his speech. He started by describing his emphasis on and dedication to his family and other families as well, along with his passion for his neighborhood, the larger community, and Hattiesburg as a whole. Ware then dove into the details of his campaign. Hattiesburg is filled with “advanced resources in education, in healthcare and in national defense,” Ware explained.
“We need to make Hattiesburg’s potential our reality,” Ware said. “Now is the time for us to advance our destiny.”
With multiple universities, a hub of healthcare establishments and medical educational programs and Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg is indeed home to a wide variety of important, and lucrative, industries, most of which many cities in Mississippi do not have.
Ware continued by listing his achievements on city council and his hopes of carrying over these accomplishments to other levels of city government. These include increased transparency, saving taxpayer money and more effectively allocating tax dollars to benefit the entire community. Ware touched on three specific goals as mayor.
First, he hopes to increase government efficiency and accountability through programs such as blind testing of governmental processes, online bill payment options and greater availability of face-to-face interaction.
Secondly, he addressed the need for the accountability of city employees and improvement of their facilities - specifically improvements for the police and fire departments. He described his plans to build a new public safety facility, the funding of which would be supplied by the restoration and stricter implementation of municipal fines.
His last goal was to face the problem of decaying water and sewage lines in the city, which have been failing for many years. Ware plans to implement a system of “replace instead of repair” in order to slowly and effectively create a new sewage system.
Ware ended his speech by announcing his official candidacy for the mayoral race of 2013.
“Hattiesburg is the best city in this state,” Ware said. “We have the vision to make it the best city in any state.”
Ware, who is a Southern Miss graduate and father of four, is Mississippi’s youngest city councilman at the age of 40. He owns his own business, Southern Anesthesia, and is a native of Smith County.
Two candidates have registered for the mayoral race so far: incumbent mayor Johnny DuPree (D) and Councilman Ware (I). Candidates have until March 8 to file their intention to run. The primary election is scheduled for May 7, with a possible runoff on May 21. The general election will be held on June 4.