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Maxwell running for mayor; four in race

Rather than pursue a third term as Ward Five alderman, Dorsey W. Maxwell qualified Thursday morning as an independent candidate seeking to become Brookhaven’s mayor.

His entry into the race swells the field of mayoral candidates to four. Other contenders include Joe Cox, a Republican; Rose “Polly” Powell, an independent; and David Douglas Smith III, a Democrat.

In announcing his candidacy, Maxwell provided a written statement outlining his goals for the city and what he believes to be his qualifications.

“I’m offering Brookhaven an opportunity to elect a mayor that is experienced and is a knowledgeable leader in city government as well as a successful business leader,” Maxwell wrote in his statement.

His stated goals included pushing for new industry and thus new jobs in Brookhaven, a review of the infrastructure needs in the city’s annexed area and a focus on boosting Brookhaven’s retail sector.

“We need to increase our sales tax base,” Maxwell said in an interview.

Stating his opposition to an increase of property taxes, Maxwell said boosting sales tax remains the best option for increasing city revenue.

To that end, Maxwell called for continued improvement to the downtown area, including further renovations of Railroad Park, new benches and free Wi-Fi service in the downtown business district.

Maxwell touted his experience in city government and what he described as a record of getting things done.

In an interview, Maxwell recounted what he deemed two accomplishments from the most recent year of his term: his involvement in pushing through a redistricting plan for the city’s ward and his role in bringing Waste Pro to Brookhaven as the city’s garbage contractor.

He said Brookhaven doesn’t have the luxury of waiting on a candidate in need of on-the-job training.

“There will be no down time for learning what’s going on in city government,” Maxwell wrote. “(The) citizens of Brookhaven deserve to have a mayor that is fulltime and can be effective immediately.”

He has served two terms of office as Ward Five’s alderman. All of Maxwell’s fellow contenders in the race would be newcomers to city government.

Maxwell said a stint on the planning commission originally led him to an interest in city government.

Maxwell won both his races for alderman as a Democrat, though he’s now running for mayor as an independent.

He believes dropping a party label will enable him to provide more united leadership.

“As an independent, I can bring both sides together,” Maxwell said.

As he described it, this extends beyond partisan divisions to encompass broader fractures among the city.

“I feel that’s one of my assets, bringing the black and white communities together,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell, 65, has business experience in the oil and gas field. His business currently operates several wells across south Mississippi, though Maxwell said he’s cutting back on that aspect of the business.

The newest mayoral candidate said he became serious about pursuing the city’s top office in this election cycle after incumbent Mayor Les Bumgarner decided not to seek another term.