Open Communication

A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

If I am fortunate enough to be elected as Oxford’s Mayor, I will listen first.

I have listened to the concerns of the citizens of Oxford for the last four years, and have truly enjoyed those meetings, telephone calls, and emails. I believe it is essential that government officials and leaders listen to the concerns of their constituents, communicate issues, and work to resolve problems.

Creative solutions come from deep and respectful conversations. There is no danger in engaging those whose perspectives are different. In fact, it is a healthy and crucial part of the democratic process.   If elected Mayor, I will create ways to keep the citizens of Oxford informed and will welcome open and honest discussions.

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Protecting Our Neighborhoods

Oxford is a city of neighborhoods.  Strong, healthy homes are the building blocks of our neighborhoods.  We all share the same desire for safe, attractive, pleasant places for our families to live and children or grandchildren to play.

I understand the importance of maintaining and increasing the investments we have in our property.  One of my first priorities as an Alderman was to work to establish a set of neighborhood ordinances and to hire a Code Enforcement Officer to enforce these ordinances. This has been very successful in addressing problems particularly in neighborhoods where students and Oxford residents share streets.  We have recently hired a second Code Enforcement Officer to allow us to be proactive in educating residents about ordinances and enforcing violations as needed.

Parking on narrow streets in our neighborhoods surrounding the University of Mississippi has long been a challenge.  With recent changes in parking at the university, our problems have increased.  I have worked with our Parking Department and a group of citizens to implement a Permitted Parking District adjacent to campus.  This program is working well to allow for full-time residents to find parking on their street as needed and preventing their streets from becoming parking lots.

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Workforce Housing

Over the years people have decided that they want the charm of a small town without having to sacrifice the hip restaurants, cool coffee shops and lively streets of a bigger city. This is when Oxford’s affordability began to fade. This has been good for business – more hotels and restaurants means more jobs – but now our little hometown is facing the same issues facing urban centers around the world. How do we foster smart growth in a city center without pushing the workforce to the fringes? How do we turn the tide and offer housing that is affordable for our workforce?

We will have to develop creative, progressive policies to address affordable workforce housing to support the local economy and retain the real town character of the community. Failure to act is not an option.

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Supporting Local Businesses

Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy.  I have owned a small business in this community, and my husband still does.  I understand the challenges that go along with owning and running a small business.

Our local tax base affords the quality of life we all enjoy.  Our local government leaders must do everything within their power to support the growth and health of our local businesses while encouraging job creation for our future workforce.  As Director of the Oxford Tourism Council, I started the Double Decker Arts Festival, which has grown to be the crown jewel of activity in Oxford in the Spring – it brings visitors that fill our hotels, eat in our restaurants, and shop in our stores.

I have worked for and with the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation.  I have attended the Economic Development Institute at the University of Southern Mississippi.  I have worked to recruit industry and businesses to our community.  I love selling the benefits of our community to others!  If elected Mayor, I will explore creative partnerships to encourage job creation.

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Enhancing Our Quality of Life

The future depends on what we do in the present.”

Oxford continues to be recognized nationally for the unique and wonderful quality of life available to its residents.  We are so blessed to have an excellent public school system, and quality city services, and some of the best recreational opportunities in North Mississippi.

Oxford is different from other Mississippi cities for many reasons, but one is the large number of part-time residents we have.  This presents challenges and “good problems.”  If elected Mayor I will be committed to improving the lives of everyday people who live and work in our community.

Planning for the Future

We are a small town with big city problems.

Embracing Our Growth

The secret is out. People from around the world are coming to Oxford to see what all the fuss is about. With our popularity as one of the best small towns in America, increased population, and thriving economy comes a civic responsibility to both current and future residents.  Change and growth are inevitable.  Oxford is never going to be the same “small town” it was in 1970, 1980 or even 1990.  We have to embrace and manage Oxford’s growth.

Oxford is at a critical time. Residents and City leaders have to work together toward a solution and plan going forward. Over the past three years, we have engaged in a long range planning effort called Vision 2037. The goal as we entered this process was to be proactive in planning for the future in an effort to protect the things about our community that we treasure – the unique qualities that define who we are – while making the necessary changes and embracing our growth. Creative solutions are being researched and defined from fostering more density within the height limits of the zoning code to developing a viable incentive program that encourages developers to include affordable workforce housing in their neighborhood developments.

There is no magic solution to these growth issues but we have made a decision as a City to embrace these opportunities. We have recently adopted a Future Land Use Map. It has allowed us to think outside of the box and create a vision and plan for how Oxford will develop. We know that we can no longer afford to address growth “development by development.” That type of approach has caused erratic growth and inconsistent development which is threatening to ruin our small-town character and charm that brought people to Oxford in the first place.

There is always opposition to change. There always has been opposition when something new is being proposed. But Oxford is moving forward and hard decisions must be made. Without movement, towns die as we have seen in small towns across our state. I will not be hesitant to propose new ideas and to act on them for the better good of the community.

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Infrastructure

If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan but never the goal.”

Oxford has many challenges ahead in the area of infrastructure.  Our sewer and water systems are aging and in need of major upgrades to support the number of people in our community. We have been blessed to have had both good leaders and adequate funding to repair and replace it over the years, but we are still in need of extensive upgrades.

Our transportation infrastructure is not adequate.  With two major thoroughfares (Jackson Avenue West to College Hill Road and Sisk Avenue to Highway 6) in the planning stages and others on the drawing board, we will continue to push forward in securing funds for future roads. 

I have met with officials from the Mississippi Department of Transportation about expediting road projects to help the growing need in our community, but they have insisted that they do not have the funds.  With MDOT funds nonexistent and federal funds diminishing for road projects, I am committed to finding creative ways to finance future road projects.

While our 20th century transportation grid was designed around the automobile, 21st century cities must embrace an integrated approach to public transportation. Oxford has done this well. Our Oxford University Transit System is incredibly effective and successful carrying more than 1,228,000 passengers in 2016.

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Arts and Culture

Oxford is a city with a rich culture.  Art makes our lives better, as it is a reflection of our reality, our hopes and our dreams. Investing in art and culture is an investment in the creativity of the city itself.  I believe our decisions regarding local development at all levels and by all sectors should be based on an understanding of cultural – not just economic and environmental – impact.

As we have held community meetings and visited with citizens through our Vision 2037 process, it has been reinforced that one of the things citizens treasure about Oxford is our creative makeup.  If elected Mayor, I will look for opportunities to grow our creative community by encouraging opportunities for people to showcase their talents through performances and public art.

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