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By NATHAN GREGORY
Mississippi State University Career Center Director Scott Maynard announced Tuesday he will run as a Republican for Ward 5‚Äôs alderman seat in this year‚Äôs municipal election.
Maynard, a 42-year resident of Starkville, has been in his current capacity for five years and has been an MSU Career Center employee for 24 years. He is a five-year resident of the ward.
In 2009, Maynard ran against current Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas and lost by 17 votes. Dumas announced Friday that he would not seek a second term.
Alderman Wayne McCool said if elected, an objective of his would be to attract broad-based industry to the city as a means of expanding the tax base and diversifying Starkville‚Äôs industrial foundation.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs very important that we continue to attract high-tech industry that can go out into the (Thad Cochran) Research (Technology and Economic Development) Park and those areas, but we also need some sustainable employment opportunities for the high school educated, community college educated (and) those who want to work in that type of environment. High-paying, high-skill jobs that can help expand our tax base here in the city,‚ÄĚ Maynard said. ‚ÄúThere‚Äôs a lot of money in grant opportunities and funding opportunities for industry to take advantage of workforce development and workforce recruitment opportunities where companies can partner with high schools, community colleges (and) Mississippi State to develop a highly educated, skilled labor force that can only help our community.‚ÄĚ
Maynard said he believes what the city has to offer in the retail sector is healthy and more marketing and promotion are needed to sustain and build on that success.
‚ÄúI think if you look at our tax base over the past four years and that trend versus a lot of cities and a lot of communities in the Southeast, we have held our own really well. The ‚ÄėMississippi‚Äôs College Town‚Äô promotion that is pushed out by the Starkville Convention and Visitor‚Äôs Bureau and the Main Street Association ‚Ä¶ has done an excellent job of informing the citizens of Starkville to shop local and attracting outside individuals to come to Starkville to shop,‚ÄĚ Maynard said. ‚ÄúI think what we need to do now is market what we have: the fact that we have a strong tax base. We have a large and growing student population with hopes of growing that population even further. Communitywide, we have a large base that comes in Starkville to shop as well. I think we just need to continue to do a better job of marketing Starkville to potential retailers that are out there.‚ÄĚ
Maynard is a past chairman of the Starkville Parks and Recreation Commission. During his tenure, he oversaw the use of grant money to build tennis courts and score towers at McKee Park and the opening of Patriots Park. Helping enhance the quality of Starkville‚Äôs recreation and serving in his current leadership role at MSU are points of pride and experiences that can be beneficial for the city if he is able to bring them to the table, he said.
‚ÄúWe were able to turn land that was a junk yard over by the Green Oaks subdivision ... into Patriots Park. We were also able to build the new Sportsplex, which is just a fantastic facility,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a great multi-purpose building that houses our basketball now, but it also can house any other type of events. That was a building type that did not exist in Starkville, and now that building is used constantly.‚ÄĚ
Another priority of his would be capital and storm water improvements, he said.
‚ÄúFor roads and streets, I think (the current board has) done a good job as far as now going in and setting a priority list and working from that priority list. I think the same with storm water drainage issues as well,‚ÄĚ Maynard said. ‚ÄúYou have to prioritize those and I think you have to look at opportunities for outside money, whether it‚Äôs community block grant money or some other type of agency funding to help offset those costs.‚ÄĚ
Maynard said he‚Äôs taking his second run at serving Ward 5 seriously and hopes to represent his constituents well if he receives the opportunity.
‚ÄúJeremiah did a fantastic job in his campaign and got elected. I have a lot of people that supported me then that have called and encouraged me to run again. I appreciate the citizens of Ward 5 that have supported me already and just providing me with the initiative to run,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI appreciate their phone calls and letters of support starting out, and I look forward to working for the citizens of Ward 5 and representing them in city government.‚ÄĚ
Maynard and his wife, Sandy, have two sons.