Mayor Smith announces candidacy for reelection
By By Ben Alexander/The Meridian Star
Born and bred in Meridian, Mayor John Robert Smith said he learned an early appreciation and admiration for his hometown and wants to lead it to a new golden age as the city's chief executive.
Smith announced his candidacy for mayor today from the front porch of his home. Smith, a Republican, is seeking his third term.
Heeding words of wisdom from his ancestors, Smith said to serve as mayor was his way of giving back to the community. The veteran politician says being mayor is an honor he takes seriously.
Smith said the job of mayor is a difficult one with long hours and little free time, but one in which he relishes the challenges that face him everyday.
During his first two terms Smith said he has worked feverishly to promote renovation of the Grand Opera House, the rebirth of Union Station and general revival in downtown. Smith was also at the helm to see Bonita Lakes Mall open in 1997, which he played a major role in getting for the city. The mall's grand opening is one of his proudest achievements, he said. Visitors to his office can take note of his pride in the project thanks to a framed article from The Meridian Star that adorns the wall commemorating the opening.
Although Smith is quick to point to the successes the city has experienced during his first two terms in office he says Meridian's potential has yet to be realized and that only hard work can achieve some of the lofty goals he has in mind for the next four years.
Smith said, if reelected, his plans are to work to see the downtown areas surrounding the Opera House are properly developed and to see other investment opportunities occur around the mall. In addition Smith said the city needs to be ready to work in order to make the Southern Arts and Entertainment Center a reality after the city receives the state's blessings to host the center.
Above the accomplishments of all the individual projects, Smith says being mayor for the past eight years has been exciting because of a "can do" attitude that now exists in Meridian.
Ben Alexander is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.