Meridian mayoral candidates: Democrat Kim Houston
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Democratic mayoral candidate Kim Houston has represented Ward 4 for the past eight years. She said it was time for her to run for mayor in order to get more things done for more people.
“We spend a lot of time talking about what could be done differently and all those things. We talk at it as opposed to talking to it,” Houston explained. “I felt led to get into position. It’s when we are in position that we can bring about change. It’s when we have a seat at the table that we can have a voice for the voiceless.”
Houston said she has learned a lot during her time as a councilperson. She said there are several improvements needed and that it begins with the relationship between the mayor’s administration and council members.
“Since 2013, I’ve learned a lot about what not to do. We are all on the same team. It makes absolutely no sense to me that we spend so much time in-fighting,” Houston said. “There is so much distrust and dysfunction. When we are out of order and we are not getting along, it has a direct impact to the people of this city.”
Throughout much of the past year the city of Meridian didn’t have a permanent police chief in place. Houston said she will take a different approach when it comes to hiring department heads.
“I’m going to be bringing people to the city council that are qualified candidates that don’t come with a lot of baggage,” Houston explained. “We are going to have a hiring board that will consist of HR folks from our top employers, like the Meridian Public School District, the hospitals, the Naval Air Station. We want to bring some of their HR teams in to be part of the interviewing process.”
If elected, Houston said she will take $25,000 of her first year’s salary and start a project that focuses on putting youth to work. She said this will be done through a partnership with organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and the Carter Foundation, among others.
“They need something positive. They need some direction. It will give these organizations the opportunity to mentor them in a different kind of way. They will be responsible for keeping the yards cut on those abandoned lots. They will be responsible for picking up the trash around this city,” Houston said.
Houston said she would continue holding town hall meetings and listening to the voices of residents.
“The reason that I’m running for office, the reason that I am stepping down, that reason is you, the people of the city of Meridian. I think we deserve a leader that cares and a leader that is ready to lead this city in a completely different direction,” Houston said.
The primary for Meridian elections will be Tuesday, Apr. 6. Republicans who are running for office are unopposed in the primary so the only contested races in Meridian are among Democrats.
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