It was a packed house at the Saenger Theater this morning as Johnny DuPree addressed the City of Hattiesburg at his fourth inauguration ceremony as Mayor of Hattiesburg.
DuPree opened his inauguration address with a story about his childhood, saying he never imagined he'd be serving the City of Hattiesburg today. He, alongside his family members, welcomed the new city council. He also addressed the wastewater issue, and outlined provisions for the city.
"Now, we've done some things that we can be proud of. We've done some things that we're not so proud of," DuPree said.
"But, we've always had the best interest of Hattiesburg at heart."
He describes Hurricane Katrina and how he helped tackle the cleanup faster than any other city struck by the hurricane.
"We tackled that," the mayor said.
Although Mayor Johnny DuPree addressed positivity coming to Hattiesburg, the new city council focused on more hard pressing issues.
"We've got to grow commercially, business wise, and we've got to grow residentially. We're not doing that," said Kim Bradley, Ward 1 councilman.
More city council members highlight the controversial election process that has rocked Hattiesburg since the election on June 4.
"My own experiences in this election have shown me that improper and inappropriate behaviors can happen," said Mary Dryden, Ward 4 councilwoman.
"It is my sincere and earnest prayer that our city's administration will make the changes necessary so that all elections in our future will be conducted with complete honesty and integrity."
She said Hattiesburg City Council owes nothing less to the people of Hattiesburg.
Kim Bradley also weighs in.
"I'm sorry to say this, but our election system is broken. If you can't believe in, and trust, the election system, you'll have nothing to build on. You have to trust those that are there, and there for the right reasons, and are truly chosen by the people," Bradley said.
Mayor DuPree says he looks forward to what the future has in store, especially for the youth of Hattiesburg.
"There's so many things for the youth, but needs to be a coordinated, comprehensive plan that we're taking care of our children and they're not falling through the cracks."
Although Johnny DuPree will face Ware in court on July 23 for an election challenge, the winner of the election must be inaugurated by a certain date, even if challenged.