The reasons to love Hattiesburg are abundant.
Great neighborhoods, the diversity of people and the endless availability of places to go and things to do make our city a special place in which to live.
We enjoy the vibrant economy bolstered by two major medical facilities, two great universities and a military base. However, the strength of our city lies in the talent and creativity of individuals and entrepreneurs. It 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 face.
Our infrastructure - whether roads, water quality or wastewater capacity - struggle to support investment and revitalization equitably across Hattiesburg. Our public schools have faced financial and leadership challenges, making it difficult to support our students, teachers and families. Our residents voice concerns about the responsiveness of our city institutions.
No single person or group is to blame for these challenges.
Challenges naturally develop over time. 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.
Hattiesburg has limitless potential. But potential alone has a shelf life.
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.
That is what this campaign is about. It is not about continuing the political battles of the past. It is about seizing opportunities to come together, believe in ourselves again and work toward a positive future.
We ask you to join us in working toward that future by electing Toby Barker as Mayor of Hattiesburg.
We ask you to make this election a conversation that is honest yet positive and productive.
We ask you to join us in writing even more exciting chapters in Hattiesburg’s story.