A candidate for mayor of Meridian made his formal announcement for the office Friday.
Independent Walter Patton says Meridian has potential that is now sitting idle. He said as mayor he would create a coalition to focus on public safety, government services, and education.
Patton says industry and jobs are important but the key to success as a community lies in gaining respect for police, preachers, parents and teachers.
"These are the four people that control our kids basically," said Patton. "And we've got to get respect for these four first before we do anything else."
The 55-year-old Patton recently survived a challenge by several Democrats to get him kicked out of the race.
Patton says his experience as a business owner and community leader and volunteer helps qualify him for the office. He's a member of the Meridian Area Navy League, on the board of Meridian Airport Authority, past president of the Lauderdale Chapter of the NAACP, a member of Parents for Public Schools and past PTA president.
Patton's name won't appear on ballots until June 4. He and Wally Hudnall will face the winners of the Republican and Democrat primaries.