The group of people seeking the office of mayor in Meridian is growing.
Meridian insurance agent Percy Bland officially made his announcement to run for mayor as a Democrat.
"I will be a mayor that unites all the people of this city. Both black, white, Hispanic and Asian, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican," Bland said at a news conference next to Meridian High School Tuesday morning.
Bland hasn't yet filed his qualifying papers, but said he plans to do so around the first of March. Bland is the owner of the State Farm agency on 24th Avenue in Meridian. He said he feels his sales and marketing background, coupled with his desire to include all residents in the process will make him the best candidate to lead Meridian forward.
"No one person has all the answers, and I think we need to be collaborative and inclusive in the way we get things done and the way we handle business," said Bland.
His campaign headquarters is located at the corner of 8th Street and 22nd Avenue. Bland has appointed a campaign consultant from Jackson and says former MCC president Dr. Bill Scaggs will serve as his local campaign adviser.
This is Bland's first time running for any political position.
"Trying to do all that I can to market this great city to bring jobs, also to work and collaborate with our school systems to have a better educated workforce," said Bland.
Bland is one of several candidates. Casandra Sloan, a Democrat, was the first candidate to file qualifying papers to run for mayor. Cheri Barry, a Republican, announced her intent last week. Bill Marcy, also a Republican and former congressional candidate, announced his intent to run last year. Wally Hudnall, a former candidate for mayor, is considering running and we still haven't heard from Mayor John Robert Smith as to whether or not he plans to seek a fifth term.
The qualification deadline is Mar. 6, with the primary election May 5, and the general election June 2.