New Albany, MS- UPDATED: 10-6-2016 3:00 PM
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton spoke to about 150 people today, Oct. 6, at the annual membership meeting of the New Albany Main Street Association.
Shelton praised the efforts of Main Street, local government, and others, who helped create the current prosperous condition of downtown New Albany.
Main Street membership is up about 30% over the same time last year.
Main Street members Tommy Sappington, of Sappington’s Men’s Wear, and Michael Brown, president of the local branch of Renasant Bank, received awards for their exceptional service to Main Street and New Albany.
New Albany, MS- Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton will speak at the annual membership meeting of the New Albany Main Street Association on Thursday, Oct. 6th.
The luncheon meeting will be at 11: 45 a.m. Thursday, in the Event Hall at 139 West Bankhead St.
Shelton was elected mayor of Tupelo in June 2013, when he was 37 years old. He was the first Democrat elected mayor of Tupelo since 1985 — 28 years. With nearly 60 percent of the votes, he defeated Republican city councilman Fred Pitts, winning 10 of Tupelo’s 13 precincts. The state Republican party had given strong support to Pitts, including money for the Republican’s campaign and visits to Tupelo by state Republican office holders.
Considered a long shot when he first entered the 2013 race, Shelton campaigned as a fiscal conservative and an advocate for economic and population growth in the city of 35,000. He emphasized the need to attract younger, middle-income families back to Tupelo, which had lost such families to other communities in Lee and other nearby counties in the early years of the 21st century..
Shelton’s performance in response to two tragic events during his first 12 months in office made admirers of many of his former political opponents:
- First, one Tupelo police officer was killed and another was gravely wounded when they were shot by subjects attempting escape from a bank holdup near downtown Tupelo, a few days before Christmas 2013. Shelton’s confident and compassionate handling of that shocking event helped the city deal with its grief.
- Just four months later, on the afternoon of April 28, 2014, a huge tornado struck Tupelo, destroying or seriously damaging hundreds of homes and businesses, killing one individual and injuring dozens of others. Shelton’s calm leadership in helping Tupelo recover from the millions of dollars of property damage and disruption to hundreds of lives was extraordinary.
One Tupelo businessman, previously a powerful opponent of Shelton, told this reporter during the summer of 2014 that Shelton’s performance as mayor while the city dealt with the two shocking events was, “Really exceptional. He handled the killing of the police officer and the tornado recovery with calmness, intelligence, and tremendous skill. You’d have thought he had been dealing with such catastrophic events for decades.”
Shelton is a native of Tupelo and a graduate of its public schools. He attended Itawamba Community College, Mississippi State University and is a graduate of the law school of the University of Mississippi.