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The race is on!

A photographer and a real estate lawyer will go head-to-head in three weeks to become the next Ward 1 alderman.

The deadline to qualify for the position was at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Rick Addy and Jordan Bankhead qualified during the first week of the period. Since then, no one else has thrown his or her hat into the ring.

The Ward 1 seat was left open when former alderman Jay Hughes resigned from his position after being elected to the House of Representatives to represent Oxford in District 12.

The special election will be held on Feb. 16 at the Oxford Conference Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Only voters living in Ward 1 will be able to vote.

The winner of the election will serve as Ward 1 alderman for the remainder of Hughes’ term that ends in June 2017. At that point, the alderman can decide to run again to retain the seat.

Addy and Bankhead had to gather 50 signatures from people living in Ward 1 to qualify to run for the position and they both live in Ward 1 which encompasses much of old Oxford.

Addy said he decided to run to give back to the community where he is raising his children. He said he has spent the last few weeks knocking on doors and

plans to continue to do that as much as possible.

“It’s been a great experience meeting neighbors and seeing people I haven’t seen in years,” Addy said this morning.

Addy said he’s heard from residents that they are worried about preserving downtown neighborhoods during Oxford’s growth.

“People are nervous,” he said. “People are worried about what will happen on North Lamar and in each individual neighborhood. But we need to take care of all our development, from commercial businesses to our residential neighborhoods.”

Bankhead said he’s heard similar concerns when he went from house to house to introduce himself to voters.

“The smaller businesses are concerned about being pushed out as more big box businesses come to Oxford,” he said. “They don’t want student housing in their neighborhoods. We have a lot of development going on. I think I’m well equipped to deal with all of those issues.”