CHICKASAW COUNTY —
They raised their right hands and many placed their hands on a Bible as they solemnly swore to uphold the ordinances, laws and liberties of their cities, their state and their nation.
Municipal officials were officially sworn in last week in Houston, Okolona, Woodland and Houlka and can now get about the business of leading their respective communities for the next four years. Most were sworn in July 1, as technically, no city business could be conducted without city officials taking the oath of office.
“I know, they mostly look like the old administration, but that’s only because they’re older, now,” said out-going Houston City Clerk Bobby Sanderson, who was master of ceremony at Houston’s event. “But these people have stood before the electorate, have stood the test of public opinion and are ready to take their place again in a government of laws, not of men.”
After the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem by Houston’s Molly May, city officials and officers were formally sworn in by Justice Court Judge Garry Turner.
Houston Mayor Stacey Parker gave a brief State of the City address.
“This board and I have done what we have always thought was best for this community,” said Parker. “People have not always liked our decisions or approved of what we have done, but we’ve always listened and then voted for what we felt was best.”
Parker said he felt Houston had made great strides over the past four years and that was why voters returned all aldermen this election. It was pointed out this is the first time in more than 20 years that at least one seat on the Houston board had not changed.
Over the last four years Houston has paved streets, refurbished water and sewer lines and done extensive improvement in local parks and with the parks and recreation department and held down taxes.
“We are doing all we can to make things happen,” said Parker. “But it takes volunteers and people from the community to make it better.”
This is Parker’s second full term as mayor and he served as Alderman-At-Large prior to that.
Other city officials sworn in their party and the terms they have served are:
• Ward 1 Alderman Tony Uhiren, Republican, entering his second term.
• Ward 2 Alderman Shenia K. Jones, Democrat, entering her fifth term.
• Ward 3 Alderman Frank Thomas, Republican, entering his third term.
• Ward 4 Alderman Willie Mae McKinney, Democrat, entering her second term.
•Alderman-At-Large Barry Springer, Democrat, entering his third term.
• City Marshal Billy Voyles, entering his third term.
Houston also swore in new City Clerk Janie Dendy and all municipal workers at city hall at last week’s event in the Master Gardener Mini Park next to City Hall.
Okolona also administered the oath of office to city officials on July 1 with two new aldermen and a new city marshal taking their post.
Regina Pickens and Mary Gates are the two new aldermen on the Okolona board. Willie C. Moore was elected as City Marshal in June.
Okolona candidates elected this spring, their party and if they are incumbents are:
• Mayor Louise Cole, Democrat, incumbent .
• Ward 1 Alderman Kenneth McVay, Democrat, incumbent.
• Ward 2 Alderman Bennett Moore, Democrat, incumbent.
• Ward 3 Alderman Eldridge Lowe Democrat, incumbent
• Ward 4 Alderman Regina Pickens, Democrat.
• Ward 5 Alderman Mary Gates, Democrat.
• Ward 6 Alderman Anthony Floyd, Democrat, incumbent.
• City Marshal Willie C. Moore, Democrat.
There were no contested races in Woodland and Houlka in June.
Woodland candidates elected this spring their party and if they are incumbents are:
• Mayor Patti Watkins, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman Linda Dendy, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman Lorene Hamilton, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman Reta Laney, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman Margaret Nelson, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman Jo Bullard, Independent.
Houlka candidates elected this spring their party and if they are incumbents are:
• Mayor Jimmy Kelly, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman Beverly Davidson, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman K.C. Gates, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman Kim Murphree, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman David Wiggs, Independent, incumbent.
• Alderman Dustin Eaton, Independent.
Questions or concerns about voting issues, policy and procedure for any election should be directed to the Secretary of State’s office at (601) 359-1350.
Questions or concerns about candidate qualifications, ethics and conduct while in office should be directed to the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division at (601) 359-4258.