By NATHAN GREGORY
Republican mayoral candidate Dan Moreland officially launched his campaign Thursday at Starkville Cafe.
Moreland, who originally filed his qualification papers Jan. 2, will challenge incumbent Democrat Parker Wiseman and Democrat Mary Lee Beal for the office. Primaries will be held May 7. The general election will be June 4.
Moreland said if elected he would take steps to make Starkville more attractive to potential developers and business owners considering locating in the city.
“I’m running for mayor because Starkville has become the most unfriendly business city and community in the state,” he said. “We are riddled with a checklist of regulations and ordinances that keep business from setting up shop in Starkville, and this present administration has done nothing to stop that.”
He cited “sidewalks to nowhere” as a primary example of what he said is over-regulation by city government.
“You need regulations but you need … them put in with some common sense. To make a business build a sidewalk before they can even open shop at their own expense is just something that is unacceptable,” Moreland said.
“We need sidewalks. We need ordinances to cover everything but you’ve got to have common sense to go along with the sidewalk ordinance … We do not need them just stuck out there just to be a sidewalk. That’s keeping business from coming to Starkville.”
Moreland said he would have an open-door policy for residents to speak with him about any concerns, adding that it’s “time to put the welcome mat out and make Starkville an open-for-business city again.
“The same regulations that make Starkville an unfriendly business community also makes it an unfriendly job community. It’s not acceptable that we’re losing good-paying jobs —both high-tech and blue-collar — because of the aggressive over-regulations that we’ve had,” he said. “As mayor, I will be an ambassador to Starkville and we’ll be recruiting business developments that would bring jobs on a wide range to Starkville.”