ELLISVILLE, MS (WDAM) - Three Republicans and an Independent are running to be the next mayor of Ellisville.
Republicans Lynn Buckhaults, Danny Shows and Kathy Pool are hoping to make it to the general election ballot after the primary election on May 2.
Lynn Buckhaults is currently the alderman ward 4 and was first elected in 2014. He served on the Jones County Junior College Board of Trustees for 16 years, and he has been self-employed for more than 40 years as the owner of Buckhaults Sawmill and Pallets.
"I think I'm the best qualified candidate for the job with my experience," he said. "One of the main things is my desire to serve. You know, it's not about me. It's about Ellisville. It's about the people in Ellisville."
Danny Shows is the president and CEO of 4D Solutions Inc. and SCHAUS LLC, both in Ellisville, which do contracting and consulting for local, state and federal governments. He's president of the Ellisville Rotary Club, and he's never held a political office before.
"I deal with city, county and state government daily," he said. I have a lot of experience in this area."
Kathy Pool didn't return calls on Monday seeking an interview.
Buckhaults and Shows said old infrastructure is a challenge for the city, and improving it will be a focus.
"I think probably the greatest challenge in most of our small municipalities is our infrastructure," Buckhaults said. "Water lines, sewer lines, our streets. That all needs a great deal of attention."
Shows said, "A drainage study that has to be done. There's so much of the city that's in a flood zone, and then we have drainage issues getting to that flood zone, so that is going to take a priority."
Another, bringing more people and money into Ellisville by bringing in more business.
"Small business growth is priority," Shows said. "There's no doubt about it. We have to let small businesses into the city."
He said old city building codes must be updated for that to happen.
Buckhaults said Ellisville and Jones County has one of the premier super-sites for industrial growth in the state. He wants to promote that development and support businesses that are already in the city.
"I think you have to think ahead, prepare ahead to be ready for industry to come in," he said. "I'd love to see the opportunities for people to stay here, to live, earn a living, improve their lives, but yet, stay Ellisville. I want to see industry, jobs, opportunity. I think all that at the same time taking care of the businesses that we have."
The winner of the primary will face Independent Susan Patterson Kelly on the general election ballot, who also wants to bring more people into Ellisville, but through tourism.
"I've had several people ask me about maybe bringing a depot," she said. "Laurel's got a depot. Hattiesburg's got a depot. Why not little Ellisville? I think that's a great idea. I think it would bring in a lot of tourism. It's a stop on the way to a lot of places."
Shows also wants to make Ellisville more appealing to visitors by creating a Mainstreet, similar to the one in Laurel.
Kelly also wants to make sure city departments, like police, fire and water, have the adequate tools to do their jobs well and make a living wage, and she wants to be a leader who is accessible to the people.
"Without the citizens in this town, there is no town," she said. "If we can't do for them, and let them have a say, then what are we doing it for?"
Kelly also said if elected, she would be the first female mayor in Ellisville, and expects that change to bring some challenges.
The primary election is May 2, with a runoff election scheduled on May 16 if it is needed. The general election is June 6.