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WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI) — The political landscape is changing in West Point.

Mayor Scott Ross has decided not to seek a third term, ending a long career in politics and public service. In his place, former Chancery Court Clerk Robbie Robinson has qualified.

Robinson didn’t seek re-election in 2011 after 28 years as Chancery Clerk. But he has remained active in numerous groups, including the creation of the regional economic development group for Clay, Lowndes and Oktibbeha counties.

Ross says he and Robinson have been discussing the mayor’s race and opportunities for the last three weeks.

Ross said the decision will allow him to pursue immediate business opportunities with his law firm. He said he is “relieved” to have a “highly quualified” candidate to step into the race.

He is a former state legislator and long-time member of the board of the Institutions of Higher Learning, which oversees the state’s eight four-year universities.

“I’m relieved,” Ross said. “I was prepared to seek and serve another term, but I have some business opportunities that require immediate attention. When Robbie and I talked and he was interested, it provided an opportunity for both of us. He is highly qualified and will do a good job for the city.”

The qualifying deadline for the May primaries and June general election is March 8. Darlene Cox also has qualified to run for mayor as a Democrat.

The following is a statement from current West Point Mayor Scott Ross:

After much consideration, I have decided not to seek the office of Mayor again in 2013. While I have enjoyed my time in public service, beginning in 1984 at age 23, I believe it is time to move on. I have been presented with an incredible business opportunity requiring immediate attention, and I am excited about the prospect. Even so, however, I would not have made this decision without the assurance of at least one other qualified candidate who has agreed to stand for the office.

While we have certainly had our share of disappointments, much has been accomplished in the past two terms. Forming a partnership with the Link has laid the foundation for great things to come, and I am privileged to have been a part of that, and consider it my most important legacy. I am also proud of the beautification efforts we have made, the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council, the inclusion of large numbers of citizens on committees, and the outstanding group of department heads left in place. While not glamorous, other important achievements include much-needed street repair, extensive drainage work, sewer line extensions and a long-term solution for the city’s wastewater treatment.

I thank my family, friends and supporters, and leave confident in the future of West Point.

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