Thursday, May 19, 2011
DuPree visits city on campaign for governor
By SUE WATSON
Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree was guest speaker at the Holly Springs Rotary Club recently. He was invited to speak by Rotarian Edward Moses.
DuPree is making a bid in the Mississippi governor’s race this year, after serving 23 years in public service – first as alderman of the city of Hattiesburg, then as a member of the Greene County Board of Supervisors and as elected mayor of Hattiesburg since 2001.
He also served as a school board trustee.
DuPree, who had several speaking engagements in the Holly Springs area, said he feels prepared for the number one spot in Mississippi.
“I know it has been my life experience that has prepared me for governor of Mississippi,” he said.
Instructed by Moses to “talk about who you are, not what you’ve done,” DuPree said, “What I have done is what I am. It’s all entwined.”
He said he believes Hattiesburg is a better place since he’s been mayor, including status as a top 10 location to open a business and to retire, in the top 20 best places to open a restaurant, in the top nine places to launch a small business, a top college town and an All-American City.
The city has 800 employees and has not had to layoff anyone, furlough anyone or reduce the salary of anyone since the economic downturn, nor has the city raised taxes.
DuPree started to work at age 8 as a newspaper boy to make money to pay for a new set of glasses for his sister that he broke. His mother required it, he said. She worked at domestic jobs. Later DuPree found work at a slaughter house and then a restaurant.
Most people he speaks to have shared similar hardships in their life experience, he said.
In Hattiesburg he had to face difficult demands from his electorate, including doing something about a caller’s bed bugs, a person’s pit bulls, about anything.
“I had the unique responsibility of chewing gum and walking at the same time,” he said.
He worked for Sears Roebuck one-third of his life, for the public one-third of his life and had his own business one-third of his life.
He said he is running to make a difference in the lives of Mississippians, because he thinks he can make a difference.
“I’m running for four years to help make Mississippi first,” he said. “I’m in it (the race) because I believe we can make a difference. My life is an open book and you can find out what we’ve done.”
DuPree asked for prayers.
“God says, if you do well with a little bit, I’ll give you a little bit more,” DuPree said. “I am at that little bit more.”
DuPree thinks education will take care of lots of problems, including problems with healthcare in Mississippi and shortages of jobs. He said 60 percent of the 153 school districts in the state are either failing or about to fail.
The Hattiesburg mayor said if education could be improved in the Mississippi Delta and jobs could be added, the state’s statistics would improve immensely.
He said the result of cutting adequate education funds will cause the local communities back home to pay for it through taxes, jails, or health.
Learn more about Johnny DuPree for governor of Mississippi at his website, www.johnnydupree.com, or visit the City of Hattiesburg on the worldwideweb.
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