Oxford leaders contract with government affairs consulting firm in hopes to gain state money

Published 6:00 am Friday, December 1, 2017

Oxford is a successful city.

Its population is growing. Its boundaries are growing.

That means, its infrastructure needs to grow too – and that takes a lot of money.

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Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill and the Oxford Board of Aldermen are hoping that their decision to hire a lobbying group for Oxford will help the city obtain state and federal funds so that Oxford can continue to be a successful city.

The city contracted with governmental affairs consulting firm JH Hughes LLC, which is no relation to the Rep. Jay Hughes.

“People in Jackson view Oxford as being so successful, we don’t need help,” Tannehill said. “We’re on the top of lists, like, ‘The Most Beautiful City,’ ‘The Fastest Growing City.’ But we have a tax-paying base of about 22,000 people and supporting about 40,000 people, and on home gameday weekends, 60 to 80,000 people. It’s hard to make those numbers work.”

Tannehill said without someone in Jackson lobbying on the city’s behalf, she feels Oxford is left out of a lot of conversations.

The JH Hughes team consists of John Morgan Hughes, Kelly Cress and Willie Bozeman.

In the agreement, the JH Hughes team will provide governmental and public policy consulting on issues relating to government affairs policy and interfacing in Mississippi and Washington D.C. on behalf of Oxford. They will assist Oxford on issues relating to strategic goals, the relationship between city leaders and the leaders at the state capitol and in state agencies and will provide any government relations work in Mississippi and in Washington D.C.

“This is something we’ve never tried before,” she said. “So we figured we give it a go, and see if we can secure some state funding to help with our infrastructure.”

Tannehill said the city will first work on forming and developing relationships in Jackson.

“We don’t have an exact plan except for relationship building,” she said. “We want to talk about the challenges that we face being such a successful city. I don’t think the state really understands the challenges we face.”