SOUTHAVEN — Southaven's new mayor spoke for nearly an hour and a half during the Southaven Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon on Wednesday but hardly anyone left their seat as Mayor Darren Musselwhite laid out his vision for the city's future.

Musselwhite laid out plans of revitalizing older parts of the city, fixing drainage problems when possible, and making sure the city's finances are above reproach.

Musselwhite began his address by saying he was relieved the long mayoral campaign was over.

"I would like to move on with the good stuff about Southaven," Musselwhite, 45, said to a capacity crowd at Landers Center. "I truly ran for mayor because number one, I love Southaven. I realized it was time to do something bigger and step out and help Southaven. I wanted to do something different. I wanted to challenge myself."

In the next breath, Musselwhite candidly acknowledged that his "world had been shaken up" since he was elected.

Musselwhite said he has been extremely busy since being sworn in in late July.

"It's been a good busy," Musselwhite said. "We haven't had a new mayor in 16 years. Now with a mostly new board, it's a different city than it was 16 years ago."

Musselwhite said he did not make many promises during the campaign because he personally does not like politicians who make "broken promises."

Striking a self deprecating tone, Musselwhite said he may have run a "vanilla campaign" in the eyes of some pundits.

However, Musselwhite said his former Minnesota Twins professional baseball teammates will confirm that he is "not a rah rah kind of guy."

Musselwhite did say he will gladly become a cheerleader for the city and touted the city's great schools, low crime rate, business-friendly environment and state-of-the-art recreational facilities among other amenities.

"I want us to be the standard," Musselwhite said. "We have a great city. I will pick up the baton and run with it."

Musselwhite said city code enforcement officers have his full support and the city will crack down on violators.

"Right now, our code enforcement officers are disrespected," Musselwhite said. "If you are going to be inside the City of Southaven, you will take care of your property. I support our code enforcement officers."

Musselwhite said city officials will also work to improve drainage and flooding issues, which could even require help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In a pointed reference to so-called sweetheart deals with contractors and others during the past administration, Musselwhite said it is time to wipe the slate clean.

"There are no more buddy deals," Musselwhite said to applause. "As long as I am mayor, there will be no more buddy deals."

Musselwhite said city officials are working behind the scenes on several fronts, including efforts to land an outlet mall employing more than 400 and continue efforts to extend several major thoroughfares such as Swinnea, Elmore and Nail roads.

Robert Lee Long: rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252

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