Philadelphia Mayor's Race Historic

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A retired teacher has decided to challenge two-term incumbent Rayburn Waddell for mayor of Philadelphia, Miss.

Nettie Moore Cox spent more than 30 years in the education business. Now, she has decided to throw her hat into the political ring.

Cox said she wants to be a part of what's going on in Philadelphia, and hopefully make things better.

"Education, revitalization of the city, economic development," said Cox, listing areas that she says are key to her campaign.

But incumbent Rayburn Waddell said those are things he's been working on for his entire eight years in office, especially economic development.

Waddell cited the booming retail business as proof. The latest part of that growth is the recent announcement of a Lowe's Store coming to town.

"If they'll look at my track record, at what's been done, there's no question I have the qualifications," Waddell said.

Cox is the first black woman to run for mayor in Philadelphia. That was enough to bring CNN to town for a story in the weeks leading up the Edgar Ray Killen trial. Killen is accused in the 1964 civil rights slayings of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney. He was not indicted for murder until this year.

Cox says she's seen a lot of changes in the last four decades, and electing her would be a major step.

"We've talked about changes in the last forty years, and what better way to exemplify those changes than to elect a black woman?" said Cox.

Waddell himself was part of the Philadelphia Coalition, a group that encouraged justice to be done in those 1964 murders, but he said he doesn't see that as an issue in this race. He says it's all about economic development.

"The trade area here is good," said Waddell. "We have people from four to five counties coming here to shop."

Municipal elections are scheduled for Tuesday, June 7.