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Aldermen incumbents officially qualified

Candidates wishing to run for office in June for a seat on the Oxford Board of Aldermen were able to start qualifying on Tuesday at the City Clerk’s Office.

In those first two days, all but one incumbent aldermen had filed their statements of intent to run for election. Ward 2 alderman Robyn Tannehill filed a statement of intent to run for mayor of Oxford. Mayor Pat Patterson announced in December he would not be seeking re-election.

On Thursday, Mark Huelse, co-owner of Something Southern, announced his intent to run for the position of Ward 2 alderman.

Huelse is the first citizen to qualify for the elections who is not already on the Board of Aldermen.

Huelse, who has lived in Oxford for the past 26 years, has served on a number of committees, including the City Ordinance Review Committee and the Oxford Planning Commission.

“Oxford is a vibrant, growing community and the growth has to continue to be managed fiscally and responsibly,” Huelse said. “Most importantly, it has to be managed with a vision and careful preparation, which I’ve gained experience in through the planning processes of the city.”

Huelse currently sits as chairman of the Oxford Square Alliance and is president of the Grand Oaks Homeowners Association. He is a member of the Oxford University United Methodist Church Building Committee.

Huelse aims to continue working with Vision 2037, a 20-year plan for Oxford, which was recently adopted and will soon enter the implementation stage. He believes that having a consistency in the sector, as well as his knowledge and understanding of its operation, is what can set him apart from others.

“I’m not a political person,” says Huelse.

“I’m not a political person,” Huelse said. “But I feel that the next four years will be key to Vision 2037 and I am willing to serve the community to help with a successful implementation.”

Huelse adds that some big challenges lying ahead for existing Ward II neighborhoods are improving existing ordinances and code enforcement. City-wide issues will be the addition of roads, infrastructure and city services, especially with upcoming annexation plans.

Huelse and his wife Becki have been married for 26 years. His stepson, Matt Scott, operates the Huelse’s furniture and cabinetry warehouse, as well as drives and dispatches buses for the Oxford School District, where his wife, Lisa, works as a teaching assistant. Matt and Lisa’s son, Nicholas, attends Della Davidson Elementary School.

After receiving his Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla, Huelse received a master’s degree in business administration from Christian Brothers University in Memphis.

Candidates for mayor and the alderman positions have until 5 p.m. March 3 to file their statement of intent. If a primary is needed, it will be held on May 2 with a runoff, if needed, on May 16.  The general election will be on June 6.

Candidates must also pay a $10 filing fee to the city clerk, which will be given to the prospective political party executive committee. Independent candidates must gain 50 signatures from those living in the ward to which the candidate is running for a seat in.

Candidates must be a registered voter in the ward they are running — except the “at large” seat — never been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison sentence or convicted of a felony. Candidates must also file their campaign finance reports periodically.

Six aldermen will be elected from the city’s six voting wards and a seventh alderman will be elected at large as a representative for the entire city. Aldermen and the mayor are elected to a four-year term.

Potential candidates may pick up the necessary form at City Hall or by downloading it from the Mississippi Secretary of State Web site, www.sos.state.ms.us/elections.