Mayors begin new 4-year terms in several Mississippi cities – McClatchy Washington Bureau

The new mayor of Mississippi’s capital city says he wants it to be “invested in the principles of human rights, justice and equity.”

Chokwe Antar Lumumba, a 35-year-old attorney, was inaugurated Monday in Jackson.

“As we face the looming threats of underperforming schools, a budget shortfall, crumbling infrastructure, furloughed city employees, crime and a water crisis, we must stand with a great resolve and become more determined than ever before to face these issues head-on,” Lumumba told more than 300 people at the Jackson Convention Complex.

He is one of several municipal leaders in Mississippi who are beginning four-year terms of office:

— Democrat Lynn Spruill took the oath Monday to become the new mayor of Starkville — the first woman to hold the job in the city. Spruill is a former Navy pilot and was mayor of Addison, Texas, from 1988 to 1993.

— The new mayor of Clarksdale, Democrat Chuck Espy, was inaugurated Monday to a job once held by his father, Henry Espy. Chuck Espy served 16 years in the Mississippi House before choosing not to seek re-election in 2015. In this year’s Democratic primary, he defeated first-term Mayor Bill Luckett — the same man who defeated him in the party primary for mayor four years ago.

— In Hernando, Republican N.C. “Tom” Ferguson Jr., was inaugurated Sunday to succeed three-term mayor Chip Johnson. Ferguson, a pilot, defeated Johnson in the GOP primary.

— In Hattiesburg, new Mayor Toby Barker took his oath of office Thursday to succeed four-term Democrat Johnny DuPree. Barker served nearly a decade in the Mississippi House as a Republican but ran for mayor as an independent.

— The new mayor of Oxford, Democrat Robyn Tannehill, was inaugurated Thursday. She succeeds Pat Patterson, a Democrat who didn’t seek a third term.

Lumumba takes on a job started in Jackson four years ago by his father, Chokwe Lumumba. The elder Lumumba died after less than a year in office and was succeeded by fellow Democrat Tony Yarber. The younger Lumumba defeated Yarber and several others in the Democratic primary this year, then easily won the general election.

Lumumba promised a “people’s administration” and ran under the slogan: “When I become mayor, you become mayor.” After Lumumba took his oath Monday, a judge administered an oath to Jackson residents and business owners in the audience, who pledged to work for success of the city.


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