January 31, 2009
Tim Pratt -
STARKVILLE -- Sometimes you just know when to throw in the towel.
For Starkville Aldermen Sumner Davis and P.C. "Mac" McLaurin, the time is now.
With municipal elections only a few months away, Davis, who represents Ward 1, and McLaurin, who represents Ward 3, have decided not to run for re-election. Both served on the board for two terms.
Davis said he won''t run for a third term because he wants to spend more time with his family, including his young children, who are approaching the ages where they can play youth sports.
"The big thing is I want to have some free time to spend with them," Davis said.
For McLaurin, the decision not to run was based on a host of reasons. He wants to spend more time with his family and finally go on some of the vacations he has been putting off during his eight years on the board.
McLaurin also wants to tend to some health issues, including a bad ankle he has been dealing with and treatment for his heart. He had heart bypass surgery in 2001, but in recent years said he has been "haphazard" with his cardiac rehabilitation program.
In addition to McLaurin''s personal reasons for ending his term, he also has some professional obligations. As the head of Mississippi State University''s Center for Governmental Training and Technology, he will help revise books on city and county government.
But McLaurin also wants to see someone else from his ward take over the helm.
"I do not agree with the popular concept of mandatory term limits -- eight years and you''re out -- because I think voters can limit terms every four years if they want to, but on the other side, I see the value of different ideas, new blood, and I think it''s time for a different person to represent Ward 3," McLaurin said.
As of Friday morning, Republican Eric Parker was the only candidate who qualified to fill McLaurin''s seat in Ward 3. Democrat Mark Duncan was the only person to qualify for Davis'' Ward 1 seat.
Both aldermen said they will be relieved to have more free time on their hands, but also will miss certain aspects of the job.
"To be honest I''m going to miss being around a lot of the people," Davis said. "There are a lot of really good people who work for the city of Starkville, and they do a really good job. I''m going to miss interacting with them. I''m going to miss my colleagues on the board. While certain times have been better than others, I really enjoyed my time on the board."
McLaurin shared Davis'' sentiment.
"I will miss the daily interaction with the people," McLaurin said. "Not a day goes by where I don''t get phone calls, e-mails, letters and so forth about something to do with the city. I enjoy that personal interaction because all the points and ideas expressed to me help refine my thoughts on any given issue. So I will miss that daily personal interaction. "I also will miss the opportunity to help a citizen in our town with a problem they''re having," he continued. "So the main thing I will miss is the opportunity to be of service to people and to make public policy decisions that will benefit the city as a whole."