At the end of his first term, District 3 Supervisor and Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors President Marvell Howard, a Democrat, will have a bye in the primary elections.
As the lone Democrat, Howard will face the winner of the Republican primary between Dennis “Denny” Daniels and Bennie L. Perkins in the general election.
Howard believes his work history prior to being elected sets him apart as the most qualified leader, but Daniels and Perkins believe their backgrounds make them better candidates to represent District 3 without prior political experience.
Dennis ”Denny” Daniels
Daniels, 42, is a proven leader under fire, literally.
Daniels retired from the Army National Guard after he was injured in a double car bombing in Baghdad in 2005. The Starkville native was leading his platoon on an escort mission near Abu Ghraib Prison when the facility was attacked. One car bomb detonated next to Perkins” vehicle and another went off as medical personnel were attempting to evacuate the wounded from the area.
During his time with the National Guard, Daniels also worked with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff”s Office and the Starkville Police Department. He holds a bachelor”s degree in criminal justice from Mississippi State University.
“I have a lifelong history of public service going back to the Boy Scouts through the Eagle Scouts. As soon as I was old enough, I got into law enforcement and I”ve been involved with other community oriented events and services ever since,” said Daniels. “After getting wounded, I wasn”t able to continue in law enforcement and I wanted to continue serving and figured this would be the best way.”
In addition to his education and his leadership, Daniels said he”s equally adept at administrative duties. As a battery commander, he was responsible for more than 100 soldiers and managing millions of dollars worth of equipment. He believes he can put that experience to work to attract jobs to Oktibbeha County.
“The big thing on people”s minds is nationwide economics and how that translates down to the local level with jobs. The other thing is taxes. Taxes are going up and we”re not seeing any improvement in services,” he said. “I”m a common sense candidate for common sense government. I want to bring conservative values back to the county. I”ll fight to keep taxes as low as possible and work to attract industry.”
Howard, 52, had a wealth of translatable experience prior to being elected supervisor in 2007 and believes he”s only improved during his time in office.
Howard also served in the Army from 1978-1981. After leaving the service, he went to work for his father”s construction business and eventually took the reigns of Howard Construction Co. During his 23 years in construction, he”s also served as a Starkville firefighter, done contract work for the Veteran”s Home Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture and for the past eight years has served as new construction supervisor for facilities management at MSU.
The Maben High School graduate received an associate”s degree in electronics from East Mississippi Community College and has one year remaining in class to complete his bachelor”s degree in industrial technology at MSU.
As a county supervisor, he said he”s been able to put all his expertise to work.
“I have a healthy understanding of what the job requires. Oktibbeha can be one of the leading counties in the state and I would like to do what I can to move it in that direction,” he said. “The experience I brought on the board with me has been absolutely invaluable. The experience of running a construction company, making financial decisions, that type of experience has made me a good supervisor.”
During his time on the board, including his current tenure as board president, Howard said citizens have become familiar with his leadership style and skills. At the same time, he said he”s gained a better understanding of the citizens and believes he provides the honesty and integrity voters want in a supervisor.
Bennie L. Perkins declined participation in this story.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.