Wesson will pick their board June 6
Besides choosing their mayor June 6, Wesson voters will also decide who will serve on the Board of Aldermen in Wards 2 and 3 and who will fill the at-large seat.
Candidates in the races for alderman, alderman-at-large and mayor are all running as independents so no primary was held in May. The town’s police chief is appointed rather than elected.
The aldermen races in Ward 3 and 4 have already been settled. Incumbents Billy Ellison in Ward 3 and Michael King in Ward 4 saw no opposition and
will keep their seats on the board.
For the mayor’s race, incumbent Alton Shaw and opponents Rosa Harris and Marty Stroud all want to lead Wesson, a town of 1,925 according to the 2010 Census.
Incumbent Mike Douglas, 43, is a lifelong resident of Wesson. Douglas, who works for Gulf South Pipeline, is in his second term as alderman.
He said he decided to run again because he has two daughters at Wesson Attendance Center and he wants to keep the town family-friendly.
“It’s a good town to grow up in,” he said. “I want to keep it morally right.”
He said he wants another four years to continue his plan to “keep the town moving forward.”
Douglas will see opposition from Larry Hall.
Hall, 52, has worked for Walmart Transportation for 25 years.
He’s lived in Wesson since 1985.
“I can remember a time when it was hard to find a place to rent or buy here with people wanting to get their kids in our school system,” he said. “Now we have a record number of homes for sale, so we have to ask ourselves where the problem is and come together as a community to correct the problem.”
Ward 2 could see a runoff since three candidates are seeking office. A candidate must get 50 percent plus one vote to win office.
Incumbent John Welter will face Jarrad Ashley and Dirk Chrestman.
Welter, 75, has been alderman of Ward 2 for 16 years. He also spent one four-year term as alderman-at-large.
He said he is running again to “help Wesson grow and to bring more industry” to the town.
Welter said there is also property in the town that needs to be cleaned up.
“There’s no major problems in Wesson,” he said. “It’s low crime and a great place to raise children.”
He said that his experience should show voters that he is the right man for the job.
“My 20 years experience show that the people I represent trust me and know that I work for the good of Wesson,” he said.
Ashley, 30, has experience as a master carpenter and interior designer, and restaurant manager and bar tender. For the past six years he has helped with the family businesses, Shop and Wash and Ashley 51. He opened his own business, Z&Z’s Crawfish five years ago.
He’s lived in Wesson for 10 years.
“I have three young children so therefore I have a tremendous interest in the future of Wesson,” he said. “My family and I love the atmosphere of the small town environment where parents know their children’s teachers and can work with them for a good education.”
Ashley believes Wesson’s assets are Copiah-Lincoln Community College, Wesson Attendance Center, Wesson Athletic Foundation and small business.
“My goal would be to see the best promotion of these assets and seek great working relationships between the town and them,” he said. “By doing so we would bring more people to town which will bring more revenue. Also increasing revenue, we will have the ability to do more work on our infrastructure which every town needs.”
Chrestman, 59, could not be reached for comment.
The alderman-at-large race is between incumbent Ric Crockett and Jarrad Ashley’s cousin, Stephen Ashley.
Crockett, 71, has been retired for 13 years from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Office. He’s lived in Wesson for 11 years
Crockett believes his experience in purchasing, bids and service contracts helps him in the office of alderman-at-large.
Stephen Ashley, 43, is a lifelong resident. He began his career at Centennial Cellular Corporation and Mississippi Department of Transportation. He’s been at BellSouth/AT&T for the past 19 years.
He said Wesson faces the same problems as any other small Mississippi town.
“As president of the Chamber, the mayor and I have always worked together toward growing our community and tackling some of these issues,” he said. “I love our town and I love the people here. I don’t look at running for alderman-at -large as political office but more of an opportunity to be able to work for and help more of the town and the people that I love.”