July 11, 2019 10:41:42 AM
Isabelle Altman - [email protected]
The first two candidates have qualified for the Ward 4 city council vacancy.
Ward 4 residents Pierre D. Beard Sr. and Kegdra Gibbs-Gray are vying for the seat vacated by former councilman Fred Jackson. As of Wednesday afternoon, Beard and Gibbs-Gray are the only candidates who have qualified.
Jackson announced his resignation July 3, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. He was halfway through his first term, which expires in 2021. On Monday, councilmen set the special election for his replacement for Aug. 20.
Beard, 31, who previously ran unsuccessfully for the same council spot in 2017, owns dance organization Golden Triangle Elite and is currently studying education at East Mississippi Community College.
"(I'm running) to bring the community together, to bring about change, let the community know that there's someone listening to them, not listening to others," he said. "Basically, (I want to) let everyone know that they're included in government as well as the entire community and city."
Beard said, while he's still putting his platform together, he plans to prioritize working with youth.
Gibbs-Gray, 43, has owned K-Gray Financial Services for more than 10 years and has worked with the Mississippi Democratic Party and served on the Lowndes County Democratic Executive Committee. She currently is an officer with the Mississippi Federation of Democratic Women. She describes herself as a "go-getter."
"Being from that community, knowing a lot of people from this community, I just feel like I've got a lot of input, and I just think that it's just a lot of stuff that needs to be done...," she said. "It's all about new leadership and change."
She said her first priority will be overseeing clean-up of Ward 4 neighborhoods, particularly the area around Shady Street, that were hit worst in a Feb. 23 tornado.
"That's going to be one of my first things I tackle, is what do we need to do as a community over here in Ward 4 to get it cleaned up?" she said.
The deadline for candidates to qualify is July 31.