January 23, 2021 6:59:34 PM
Ward 7's alderman seat has produced the first competitive race for this year's Starkville municipal elections.
Nedra Lowery, 36, qualified Friday to challenge three-term incumbent Henry Vaughn in the Democratic primary, according to information the city clerk's office released.
Lowery, a Columbus native, is no stranger to politics. She ran unsuccessfully in a crowded field in a 2019 special election to fill the vacant Ward 1 council seat in Columbus, after Councilman Gene Taylor passed away. At that time, she said, she split time living in a family home in Columbus and a rental house in Starkville. After losing that election, she said, she began living in Starkville full-time.
"Ward 7 (in Starkville) reminds me a lot of Ward 1 (in Columbus)," Lowery told The Dispatch on Saturday. "It needs a visible leader, and I don't want to be somebody people only see when I'm running. Constituents (in Ward 7) seem to be ready for change, and I want to be the type of leader that people say, 'When I need something, I can call Nedra.'"
Lowery earned a mass media degree in broadcasting from the Mississippi University for Women and works as an independent marketing consultant, she said.
If elected aldermen, she hopes to prioritize building better relations between law enforcement and citizens based on mutual trust. She also wants to partner with area nonprofits to strengthen after-school program offerings for children.
"We have to invest in our kids now because they are the future leaders of our community," Lowery said. "We need to give them a running chance."
So far only one candidate each has qualified for the mayor's race and the six other alderman seats. Deadline to qualify is Feb. 5.
Party primary elections are set for April 6. The general election will be June 8.
Zack Plair is the managing editor for The Dispatch.
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