Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson says he'll seek another term as the DeSoto County seat's chief executive in next year's municipal elections.
Saying he intends to challenge Johnson for the post is Tom Ferguson, community activist and pilot for Endeavor Airlines.
"Of course," Johnson said when asked Tuesday if he's a candidate. "It's never been a question for me."
A Navy veteran and businessman, Johnson was elected mayor in 2005 and has been re-elected twice. The Republican previously served the city in a four-year term as alderman.
Johnson said he's running on his record, not promises.
"Hernando is coming out of the recession, with residential and business growth, and we've got millions of dollars in road projects and city projects as a whole," said the mayor. "It's an exciting time for Hernando."
Johnson added: "When you've been in office awhile as I have, your record should speak for itself. The citizens will look at that record and decide if I've done a good job."
A former president of the Mississippi Municipal League, Johnson holds the organization's highest training certification and continues to take and assist classes.
The qualifying period for candidates starts in January and ends on March 3.
Ferguson said Wednesday he intends to file paperwork early next year to qualify as a candidate for mayor. He's well known in Hernando for his efforts to restore the historic antebellum Springhill cemetery.
"I've never done anything like this before," Ferguson said of a political campaign, but he said he felt compelled to step up. His theme is "A new choice for a new change."
"I believe in transparency and credibility in government, with public health, welfare and safety as top priorities along with roads and infrastructure, and in getting citizens more involved," said Ferguson. "I'm willing to work with citizens on all issues."
As to specific areas of concern, Ferguson said "I've heard complaints about the Planning Department" and projects not moving forward, and that Parks and Recreation ball fields "are in disarray."
Henry Bailey is Contributing Writer and Copy Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He can be contacted at email@example.com and at 662-429-6397, Ext. 241.