Columbus city councilman eyes mayor’s office

"On this glorious occasion, I am now announcing my candidacy for mayor of Columbus."

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – Stephen Jones is no stranger to the people of Columbus. He’s served as councilman of Ward 5 for eight years.

He has been at the forefront of popular community projects and initiatives, such as Propst Park and the city’s progressing annexation.

Over the weekend, he announced his intentions to run for mayor, stirring conversations across the city.

“I think we can do better as a city. If not now, when,” said Jones.

While Jones is currently serving on the council, running for mayor means challenging the status quo and potentially going up against the current mayor, Keith Gaskin setting the stage for a pivotal election.

“You know we have to put out a better image. We can’t be up there fighting each other. It’s all about leadership. You know nobody wants to come here when they see the city government not getting along. So I think that as a leader, I can bring us all together whether you’re Republican, democrat, independent, or whatever your position may be. I think I can drive that home and bring us together and be a good leader for everybody,” said Jones.

Jones said safety is a right all citizens in the Friendly City should have.

“We shouldn’t have to go to sleep hearing AR15s all through the night,” said Jones.

And as far as infrastructure needs, according to Jones, steps that could have been taken were overlooked time and time again.

“Simply just cleaning the ditches that I have been pushing from the time that we’ve had the ARPA money, which now we’re way behind on cause we should’ve been doing this first,” said Jones.

The city council has voted four to two on the majority of issues it decides on…which often fall along racial lines. Jones says we have to get past that.

“With the right person up there, we can get past that issue and bring everybody together,” said Jones. “I can work with anybody. I can work with the current administration if they choose to work with us.”

City councils that support their mayor usually show a strong force of unity.

And with endorsements seemingly from the majority of his council colleagues, Jones said he doesn’t think he’ll have a problem with that.

“I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement from all of them, well most of them. I do think they’ll be behind me 100%. Because it’s time. They know it’s time to have good leadership,” said Jones.

Jones also said he plans to create a diverse committee of professionals from different career backs ranging from grant writers to businessmen, in hopes of propelling Columbus in a new direction, quickly.

“It’s time to kick it into gear,” said Jones.

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