Don Daniels has a wide and varied amount of involvement and experience around several areas of interest. Daniels is a retired Nazarene pastor who still works with churches. He has served as a missionary to the Navajo nation, has had financial experience and studied law at one time. Daniels has also been an author, insurance owner, started non-profit organizations and was the founder of the Mississippi Tea Party.
But Daniels now wants to become an alderman from Ward 2 in the Southaven special election on Tuesday, Feb. 13. He is one of seven candidates running for the vacant spot that became open when Ronnie Hale resigned in December amidst legal troubles.
Daniels said he is running for the seat because he believes people in Ward 2 have not been adequately represented in the past and he wants to change that.
“My priority is Ward 2 and that comes first,” Daniels said. “I’ve been in Ward 2 for over 47 years and there’s still things that they say they are going to complete but they have never addressed. I want equal representation and I want equal financial involvement.”
An area where Daniels feels his part of the city has not received equal treatment has been in problems with flooding that residents have had for years. Daniels said it has been a recurring issue with no resolution.
“There are people that I have known for years that whenever we have a hard rain and Hurricane Creek overflows, it impacts a lot of people down on Brentwood and Brentwood Cove and the people backed up to the railroad. The reason is because nobody has taken the time to solve the problem.”
Daniels went on to say there are simple fixes to the flooding issue, but since budgets and priorities are set as much as a year in advance, these problems get “shoved back,” in his words.
Another item that is front of mind for Southaven residents has been the restaurant tax, also known as the Penny for the Parks one-cent surcharge on restaurant sales that was removed last year.
There are efforts now underway in the state Legislature that would a similar local tax back on the books.
The opposition to the tax is not so much on what it does, to help improve parks and recreation, but rather how it affects people on fixed incomes.
“Our senior citizens have paid for those parks in the past and that’s a burden to people on fixed income,” said Daniels. “I know that as a senior citizen, we pay very little ad valorem tax, but when they go to the ball park, they pay just like everybody else. I think senior citizens ought to be exempt from having to pay at the ball park, because they have already paid through their taxes to build them.”
While he will be active in pushing for Ward 2, Daniels acknowledges he has to work with the other board members. However, when it comes time to vote, he said what is best for his ward will drive his decision.
“You have to be compatible,” Daniels said of how he would work with other members of the board. “But being compatible does not mean that you have to compromise every detail of what you stand for. My intention is to not only work with the other aldermen and work with the mayor, but my priority is for Ward 2.”
The other six candidates running for the seat include Johnny Johnson, Harold Moore, Norine Sloan, Charlie Hoots, Greg Paylor and Brenda Daniel-Anderson.
Polls on Tuesday are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at the Justice Court Building, 8525 Highway 51 North. If needed, a runoff election would be held on March 6.
Today (Saturday) is the final day that absentee ballots can be accepted at Southaven City Hall, 8710 Northwest Drive, between 8 a.m.-12 noon.
Bob Bakken: firstname.lastname@example.org