Meridian mayoral candidates: Democrat incumbent Percy Bland
MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Incumbent Mayor Percy Bland, a Democrat, said he’s running for re-election to continue the progress he’s made over the last eight years.
“You see development on the east side, west side and the north side of town,” Bland explained. “All of these things that are happening will bring in new tourism dollars and new dollars to our city, so we can pump more money into our infrastructure needs.”
Crime has always been an issue for any mayor in any city, but over the last couple of years, instability plagued the Meridian Police Department. Bland said he believes he now has the right people in place and that morale is growing along with the number of officers.
“I’m telling you now, to the bad guys out there, that we will continue to be very aggressive in how we handle this because it’s an issue this entire community needs to deal with. I believe in what Chief Chris Read is doing at MPD,” Bland said.
Through his administration, there have been several disagreements with the city council. When it comes to working with a future city council, Bland hopes the relationship is better than it has been.
“I have three council people, about to be former council people, running for the position of mayor. It has not been easy to lead and govern when three people want the same position that you have,” Bland said. “There can’t be three or four mayors at the same time. We are running on what we have done, what we are doing and what we will continue to do in the future.”
Bland said government takes time and the process has been slower than he would have liked, but he says progress is evident.
“You’re able to now see these things, touch these things. All of these businesses are opening right in front of your eyes,” Bland explained. “The bottom line of it is that even Ray Charles can see the development that’s happened around this city.”
Bland said the MAX, Mississippi Children’s Museum, Threefoot Marriott and the new brewery are examples of what he’s done to carry Meridian forward. With $8.4 million in COVID-related relief coming from the federal government, Bland said he believes that should be used to improve economic growth, pave streets, upgrade infrastructure and more.
“I would like to see more money in our budget be spent on workforce programs for high-risk students still in the classroom. I’d also like more high-risk individuals return to work from having been incarcerated,” Bland said.
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