May 4, 2009
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE -- The battle for Starkville''s Ward 7 alderman seat will pit incumbent Janette Self against challenger Henry Vaughn Tuesday in the Democratic primary.
With no Republicans entered in the race, the winner of the Democratic primary will secure the Ward 7 seat.
During her time as alderman for Ward 7, Janette Self has been a major proponent of infrastructure improvements throughout the city. Most recently Self was instrumental in getting the city to include Reed Road on its list of roadways to improve.
The Reed Road project is in the planning stages now and construction is expected to begin next year.
Infrastructure improvements throughout the city would be one of Self''s top priorities if she gets reelected, she said. She was a major supporter of Mayor Dan Camp''s recent $12 million bond proposal for infrastructure improvements, though the board eventually passed a $3 million plan.
Improvements to Highway 182 also are on Self''s to-do list.
"With Martin Luther King Drive (Highway 182), it is very important that we continue the improvements in this area and recruit businesses to locate in the area, and encourage property owners to improve the appearance of their property," Self said. "We need for the city to get in there and do whatever we need to do to get it cleaned up and beautified because it''s a very highly used entrance to the university and the city."
Self also wants to focus on bringing a variety of businesses and job opportunities to Starkville.
"The research park is fantastic; it pays big bucks, but everybody can''t work at the research park," Self said. "Fast food is fine. We need those. But we need some jobs that pay $15 to $20 an hour and then we''ll see the true quality of life change in Starkville. That''s one of the reasons I''m excited about the CottonMill Marketplace, and I hope that everything goes as planned with that so we''ll soon see dirt being turned on the property. That will bring some jobs that will bring more than minimum wage."
Self also was instrumental in instituting the smoking ban and has stayed active in roles outside of the alderman seat.
She is retired after serving for years as a nurse at Oktibbeha County Hospital and now serves on the hospital''s board of trustees. She also was city''s representative on presidential search committee at Mississippi State University.
"I''m just looking forward to the opportunity to represent Ward 7 once again," she said.
Henry Vaughn is a lifelong Starkville resident who decided to join the political arena because he wants to see more done in Ward 7, and throughout the rest of the city. What''s done in one ward should be done in another, he said.
Vaughn''s priorities include improving quality of life in the city. Among his initiatives, he wants to see improvements to West Side Park and J.L. King Park so children have as many recreation opportunities as possible.
"We need to push for the city of Starkville to accommodate our children," Vaughn said. "I''ve seen all these years that we have nothing to occupy these kids and keep them out of trouble. The Sportsplex is too far for a lot of people in Ward 7 and some people don''t have vehicles. We just need to do something to keep these children out of trouble."
Vaughn also says he wants to see street and drainage problems fixed in Ward 7. While out on the campaign trail, residents have shown him areas that are prone to flooding.
Some areas he already knew about; with others, he is just glad his fellow citizens exposed the problems.
"We have a lot of room for improvement in Ward 7," Vaughn said. "I''m not afraid to stand up for the people and voice my opinion. I think the people need someone like that on the board."
"I''m always going to fight for what''s right," he added.
With 11 children, education has always been a priority in the Vaughn household and he vowed to bring that same attitude to the Board of Aldermen if elected.