Ward 4 primary features two MSU students

May 4, 2009

Tim Pratt -


STARKVILLE -- In the race for the Ward 4 alderman seat, incumbent Richard Corey is running for re-election on the Democratic ticket and will face Republican challengers Nick Papas or John Michael VanHorn in the general election on June 2. 


But Papas and VanHorn must first square off Tuesday in the Republican primary to determine who will face Corey. Both Papas and VanHorn are communication students at Mississippi State University. 




''Small-town values'' 


Nick Papas is from Macon, but came to Starkville to attend Mississippi State. He decided to run for alderman because he considers Starkville his new home and believes the city has room for improvement. 


As a resident of the Cotton District, Papas wants to attract more small businesses to the area, specifically restaurants and other establishments that cater to the students and young professionals who live around him. 


Among other initiatives, Papas wants to beautify the city and improve relations between Mississippi State University and City Hall. 


Papas already has started studying up on city ordinances and policies to prepare for the job if he gets elected. He says his work ethic and willingness to delve deep into city issues could help him become a strong alderman. 


"I''m going to be completely honest," Papas said. "If I don''t know something, I''m going to let you know. But then I''ll do the research and come back to you when I figure out the answer." 


Papas says he has "small-town values" and in the past has worked on campaigns in Noxubee County, including that of Mayor Dorothy Baker-Hines in 2004. 


"If you can handle politics in Noxubee County, you can handle it anywhere," Papas said with a laugh. 


For more information on Papas, visit www.nickpapas.com. 




A student for a student majority 


John Michael VanHorn entered the race for alderman because he wants to improve the appearance of the Cotton District, where he lives, but also because he''s been interested in local government for years. The idea to run for alderman came last year and now he''s hoping Ward 4 residents cast their vote for him on Tuesday. 


VanHorn also said he has studied up on city ordinances. He plans to attend graduate school at Mississippi State and has no plans to leave any time soon. 


He believes he can relate to the residents of Ward 4 as well as any of the other candidates. 


"A majority of the ward is students, so I think it makes sense to have a student representing the ward on the Board (of Aldermen)," VanHorn said. 


VanHorn grew up in Winona, where both of his parents worked in the education field. He feels education is important to a city''s success and said he would work hard to do whatever he can to improve Starkville''s schools. 


He also wants to improve relations between the city and Mississippi State. He believes the university could benefit by touting the Cotton District as a major attraction for visitors and prospective students. 


"I want to work with the Cotton District and the university, in that area, because I feel like it could be a hot spot for the city," VanHorn said. 




Garthia Burnett 5/4/09 breakout box; please delete note after creating box 




Races uncontested in primary 


The race for alderman in wards 2, 3 and 7 are not being contested in the primary election. In Ward 2, incumbent Rodney Lincoln, a Republican, will face Democrat Sandra Sistrunk in the June 2 general election. In Ward 3, where Alderman P.C. "Mac" McLaurin has opted not to run for re-election, Democrat John Gaskin and Republican Eric Parker will square off in the June 2 general election. 


Ward 6 Alderman and Vice Mayor Roy A. Perkins is running uncontested for re-election.