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Letter from Toby on Hattiesburg's Next Chapter

Dear friend,

I love Hattiesburg and all it encompasses - from our neighborhoods and the diversity of people to the endless availability of places to go and things to do. The reasons to love our city are abundant.

For nearly a decade, I have had the privilege of serving Hattiesburg in the Mississippi House of Representatives. I have proudly worked toward solutions across a variety of policy areas, from early childhood education to foster care reform.

I have worked with colleagues to bring home state investments for our community, including new technology infrastructure in our schools, upgrades to our Zoo, and sidewalk improvements for our children and neighborhoods.

These accomplishments took a lot of work, but I found my colleagues in Jackson were always more than willing to help Hattiesburg. Why? Simply put, Hattiesburg sells itself.

In addition to two major medical facilities, two great universities and a military base, our city moves forward through the work of residents who genuinely care about their community.

But even with so many good things, we cannot ignore the challenges we also face. These challenges are not the fault of one group or person. However, when allowed to go unaddressed, these challenges fester. They grow in size and in cost. They hinder us from reaching our potential, and they damage our morale.

We cannot rest idly. We cannot coast or simply go through the motions. If we do, we fail to ensure that the next generation will inherit an even more amazing city than we now enjoy.

Now is the time to ask, both individually and collectively, some tough questions about where we are as a city and what each of us can do to better it. I’ve asked myself that question a lot in recent months, and I now have an answer.

I’m writing to you today to announce that I am running for Mayor of the City of Hattiesburg.

I strongly believe we have limitless potential, but potential alone has a shelf life. We must be honest about the challenges we face in our public schools, in our infrastructure, and in our neighborhoods. We must seize opportunities to come together, believe in ourselves again and work toward a positive future.

I am ready to work toward that future with you as your Mayor.

Know that I am committed to running a positive campaign, and I ask you now to make this election a conversation that is honest yet positive and productive.

I ask for your vote, for your voice, and for your prayers as we together write more exciting chapters in Hattiesburg's story.

All the best,

Toby Barker