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Candidates vie for Wards 3, 4 positions

The winning Democratic candidate for Ward 3 alderman in the primaries will face an independent in the general election, while the Ward 4 alderman will be decided with the primary election. Both candidates for that ward are running on the Republican ticket.

Brookhaven, based on its population of  12,513, according to the 2010 Census, is divided into six wards with an alderman-at-large as well. Mayor and aldermen are considered full-time jobs. Aldermen are paid an annual salary of $18.447.36.

The primary election is May 2. If no one gets 50 percent of the vote plus one, there will be a runoff election, which will be May 16.

If there is a runoff, voters must stick with whatever party they voted in the primary. The general election is June 6. It will include the party primary winners and any independent candidates.

Today we look at the candidates running for Ward 3 and Ward 4.

Ward 3 LaMareo “Big Moe” Brown

Brown, who will be 37 on Wednesday, is married to Makisia Russ-Brown, a school teacher at Lipsey School. He attends Center Street Church of Christ.

He’s been a resident of the city for his entire life and currently lives in the 500 block of East Washington Street. Brown is a school attendance officer employed with the Mississippi Department of Education. This is his first foray into politics. He’s running as an independent.

“I want to take advantage of the opportunity that was awarded to me as a citizen of Ward 3,” Brown said. “I have a lifelong connection with my community by living here all my life. I grew up playing in the recreation department in my community and I work in my community. It’s my home and I care about the people in it.”

Brown said he sees many positives in his hometown and wants to accentuate what the city has to offer, starting with Ward 3. “I think Brookhaven is a beautiful city and I want to make sure the ward in which I live will always allow Brookhaven to remain a beautiful place,” he said.

He believes Brookhaven needs to attract more businesses to the east side and south side of town “That would create more job opportunities,” he said.

Doing that starts with the schools.

“We need to improve the schools,” he said. “So students in schools need to bring up their grades to bring up the school district. To bring that up that will allow jobs to come. Companies don’t want to be in a place where you have to teach employees how to work for your company.”

If elected, he’d like to start an after-hours GED program to allow adults without a high school education to complete the requirements to get a diploma.

Brown said his degree in social services will be beneficial to his work as alderman. “My education is grounded with working with people,” he said.

He’s also a licensed professional barber of 15 years, which he said will also be a big plus in how he relates to his constituents.

He said he’s the best choice for the alderman seat. “I’m honest, dependable and trustworthy,” he said. “I’m a determined person. Anything I start, I plan to finish.”

Ward 3 David Holloway

Holloway, 45, is the father of three children. He is running as a Democrat.

He currently lives in the 700 block of South Railroad Ave. He’s worked the Wal-Mart Distribution Center for two years and has owned Italy’s Concessions at 602 South First St. in Ward 3 for more than seven years. Previously, he was a state licensed sales producer for Allstate Insurance.

He was reared in Brookhaven and graduated from Brookhaven High School in 1989. “I moved away for a while and have been back home for eight years,” he said.

This is his first time to run for public office.

Holloway wants to see the city tackle its “plumbing, sewer system and electrical grids,” which he said need to be updated. He also wants all dilapidated and abandoned properties to be torn down and the lots cleared.

He believes the city would benefit from businesses that could pay its employees higher wages.

Brown would also work to create more opportunities and resources for recently released prisoners.

He has worked in the social service field for more than 20 years. This allowed him “to work with people from many background, ethnicities  and circumstances. It has also helped me become a better listener and helper in life,” he said. “I am passionate about seeing people do well. I am a resident and small business owner in Ward 3 and I understand the needs of homeowners, community and  small businesses owners, and If I am elected I will promise to be transparent, accessible, fair and honest.”

Ward 3 Mary Wilson

Incumbent Mary Wilson, a Democrat, is seeking her fourth full term as alderwoman of Ward 3. She was first elected to office after winning a special election in 2004 to fill an unexpired seat. She won elections in 2005, 2009 and 2013.

A Brookhaven native, the 58-year-old is married to Rev. Jerry Wilson and lives in the 100 block of St. George Street. The Wilsons have one daughter and a granddaughter. She attends The Living Word Faith Ministry Church. She is a member of AJFC, South Central Fellowship and HOTT.

Wilson said her full time job for 13 years has been with the City of Brookhaven.

Before winning 2004 special election, she ran unsuccessfully for alderman-at-large in 1999.

Wilson said she wants to continue her work in the city. “To continue to make a difference in the city of Brookhaven and to change policy and continue to make a difference in the lives and quality of living for my constituents.”

She’d like to see better jobs available for residents and she’ll continue to work closely with the Industrial Development Foundation and the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce to help that happen.

She also wants to “continue to work with the city board in helping to make our city safe.”

Wilson points to her three terms in office as proof she can be trusted with the job as alderwoman. “Because I have proven to get the job done and have made much progress in the City of Brookhaven and Ward 3 and in the lives of my constituents and community,” she said.  “And the people can continue to trust me because they know me and that I will get the job done. Also they know progress. I win they win. Re-electing me means getting results.”

Ward 4 Jason Snider

Snider, 29, has been employed as a risk manager at King’s Daughters Medical Center since 2012. He’s lived in Brookhaven for 27 years and currently resides in the 200 block of South Whitworth Ave. He is a Seventh Day Adventist.

Snider, a Republican, said he has a passion and love for Brookhaven. “I want to offer my talents, experience and best efforts to improve the quality of life in Brookhaven,” he said.

He’d like to see the city continue on a positive path. “While I am happy with the direction our city is headed; we must ensure the momentum continues because there is much work that still needs to be done,” he said. “The latest Census Bureau indicated a drop in population and only 28 homes have been built since 2014. More pressing is the fact that Brookhaven’s poverty level is an astounding 37.1 percent.  We must encourage more families to build their homes within the city limits and aggressively recruit new businesses and industries to our community to ensure the availability of good jobs.”

He wants to lure graduates back to the city after graduation.

“In order for Brookhaven to continue to be a special community, we must make it a place that recent graduates want to come back to and make their home,” he said. “To accomplish this, we have to have good infrastructure and encourage more community wide events.  Population increase will protect and support current businesses. I want to help reduce our current poverty level by increasing awareness of the benefits of obtaining a high school diploma and pursuing technical or college degrees.”

In January, the Brookhaven Board of Aldermen put their collective feet down over an issue involving the Oak Hill subdivision, which is an annexed area of the city that is in Ward 4. Residents there, who are members of the Oak Hill Homeowners Association, want the city to take over and maintain their road. The board voted 6-0 in favor of not accepting the road unless the homeowners association reinforces it at their expense.

“The city embarked an annexation project years ago,” Snyder said. “I would like to provide city services for these areas and see this situation resolved as soon as possible.”

Snyder said he wants to work within the city’s budget to extend tax dollars as far as possible. “One way of accomplishing this is to pursue grant money,” he said. “Additionally, I would like to continue improving the relationships with the county, state and dederal officials, Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Economic Council and Mississippi Development Authority. This is a team effort.”

Snyder’s work ethic and participation in various organizations gives him the experience he’ll need if elected as Ward 4 alderman. “I have demonstrated leadership abilities within several community organizations where we have raised over $600,000 for the benefit of this community,” he said. “I have also demonstrated the ability to work with business leaders to make improvements. I coordinated with nearly a dozen property owners to complete a parking lot repaving project between State Bank and First Baptist Church. I contacted Fred’s corporate office to paint their façade and building. I spoke to nearly 60 property owners about placing LED lights on the downtown rooftops. I planted the seed for Brookhaven’s first Mardi Gras — Downtown Jazzed Up.

“As risk manager at King’s Daughters Medical Center, part of my responsibilities is that I have is to manage complaints that we may receive. I have real-life experience bringing people together to resolves issues and (move) Brookhaven forward.”

Snyder points to his nominations for leadership positions as a reason to vote for him. “Being nominated for so many leadership positions in the civic organizations that I have been involved in proves that people find me trustworthy,” he said. “Being a man of character and integrity is critical in every aspect of life. “

Ward 4 Rusty Yates

Yates, 62, is married to Patsy Perrette Yates and lives in the 500 block of West Chippewa Street. They attend First United Methodist Church of Brookhaven. Yates has been the owner of Ed’s, Quality and Patrus Cleaners since 2008. He’s lived in Brookhaven for 45 years.

He has never run for public office but wants to be an advocate for Ward 4.

“I love my hometown of Brookhaven and am committed to being an advocate for the concerns of Ward 4 and the city,” he said. “We need a strong business leader with extensive knowledge of all the components of the city’s operation.  I believe I have the right experience, proven success, and ability to make critical decisions while offering new ideas and common sense solutions to move Ward 4 and Brookhaven forward for our businesses, families and future generations.

Yates would like to see completion of annexation infrastructure, which means continuing to obtain required easements in the  Oak Hill, Deer Run and Moreton Estates areas in order to begin the construction phase as soon as possible, especially since funding is currently in place, he said.

He wants to facilitate retail, commercial and industrial growth opportunities through relationships with individuals, state officials, the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, Industrial Development Foundation, Southwest Mississippi Development, and various agencies.  The city should also continue to actively promote the new spec building at Linbrook Business Park.

Yates would like to see new neighborhood watch programs put in place and and strengthen established neighborhood watches while increasing current patrols.

Garbage pickup is a problem within the city and the county and one Yates has an idea to fix it.

“The city’s trash services contract will be bid upon next year, and we should make sure that the new contract, when awarded, has performance requirements with specific penalties for failure to perform as specified,” he said.

A new fire station, police sub-station and animal shelter are concerns as well. “(For) the Willard Street Fire Station replacement, there is currently a feasibility study being conducted by the city to determine the location of a new fire station and police sub-station,” he said.

He said the city should begin construction of a recently proposed animal shelter based on sketches provided by the city’s engineering firm.

Yates said he will work to secure grants through state, federal and private sources to complete the needed projects.

Of Oak Hill subdivision, Yates said the city should follow the law. “It is my understanding that the ownership of the road is in question,” he said. “That determination needs to be made as the city works within the guidelines of the law of the state of Mississippi.”

Yates has more than 25 years experience as a business owne. “I am skilled in the management of personnel, meeting payroll, equipment, and real property and have extensive knowledge of employment policies and procedures,” he said. “As a consultant, I provided business solutions and project coordination for various companies throughout the United States.”

He acquired his first dry cleaners operation in 2008, and grew the company to 17 retail stores and four independent contractor stores.

He is skilled in the development of operational, procedural and administrative policies and has created, managed and adhered to multi-million dollar budgets.

He has been a financial planner, and previously held a  a Series 7 securities license. He has prepared and negotiated contracts and has streamlined business processes.

Yates has also been an operations manager in the Middle East and Africa for an oil field service company, where he was responsible for personnel and equipment in 21 countries. 

He was also a partner in the creation of Human Performance Company, a return-to-work oriented physical therapy company.  The business grew to 10 locations, serviced three hospitals, numerous nursing homes, and home health agencies, he said. He   successfully negotiated the sale of the company to Stryker Medical, a Fortune 400 Company.

“I have strong family values, firm Christian beliefs, and feel that you should always choose to do the right thing,” he said. “I have prepared myself for this job by attending more than 95 percent of city council meetings since I announced my candidacy in June, 2016.

“I have documented the concerns of residents throughout the year. If elected, I can be relied upon to be responsive to those concerns and the needs of Ward 4 residents.”

Rusty Yates

Mary Wilson

LaMareo Brown

David Holloway

Jason Snider