MAYOR JASON L. SHELTON
Mayor Jason Shelton is a lifelong resident of the City of Tupelo and a product of the Mississippi public education system, having attended Tupelo High School, Itawamba Community College, Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi School of Law.
After practicing law in Tupelo for more than a decade, Jason was elected as the first mayor in the history of Tupelo from “East Tupelo.”
During his time as mayor, the City of Tupelo has overcome many hardships, and also has been highly acclaimed as a 2015 All-America City and as the Mississippi Municipal League 2015 Overall Excellence Award winner.
TUPELO MUST ALWAYS STRIVE TO BE GREAT
There are many outstanding leadership books used by individuals for inspiration and tools to advance their organization and their individual careers. One such book, “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins starts with the basic premise that “Good is the enemy of great.” Over nine chapters, the book gives examples and statistics and provides logical reasoning of the factors which separate good leaders from great leaders and good organizations from great organizations. The same principles can be applied to cities.
For generations, our city has taken great pride in being a progressive, forward-thinking Southern city. We have led the way in transforming our city from extremely humble beginnings to becoming the smallest city in the nation to be the home of two financial institutions worth over $10 billion, to being the home of the nation’s largest rural health care facility, to becoming a global force in the furniture industry, and to become a regional leader in so many other statistical categories.
Distinguishing factors that have set us apart are our willingness to invest in our city, to be creative, and our willingness to change with the times.
A prime example is the creation of the Tupelo Major Thoroughfare committee. By way of a self-imposed tax, our citizens have invested over $120 million into our city’s infrastructure. This is unheard of in Mississippi, with the exception of Tupelo.
Our city’s infrastructure allows us to consistently be one of the nation’s Top Ten Micropolitan areas for economic development.
Without question, we are good, but can we dare to be great? If we want to grow, we must be willing to go from good to great because that is now what it takes to be competitive as a city.
Now, more than ever before, we live in a mobile society. More and more people do not work in a traditional setting. A Feb. 14, 2018 Business Insider article stated: “It’s anticipated that over the next few years, 50% of all employees will be working remotely. Mobile information- and knowledge-based workers, including executives, professionals and doctors, are already commonly found in the workforce. In fact, there are currently at least 3.7 million employees who work from home at least half of the time.”
Working remotely and telecommuting will become more and more common as the years progress.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TUPELO?
It means, if we want to grow as a city, we must become a more desirable place to live. If you can make a living by working remotely, then you have the freedom to call home wherever you want to call home. You have the ability to choose a safe, affordable, beautiful city that provides great quality of life opportunities and a great public school system for your children. As both a city and a state, we can either provide these amenities or we can continue to suffer “brain drain” and watch our best and brightest young people leave the state.
We have to do whatever it takes to be attractive and desirable as a city – so that those who do not have to call Tupelo home want to call Tupelo home.
Endless studies have solidified the notion that walkability is a key component of desirability in a community. To provide the amenities that are desired, we must connect our neighborhoods to our parks and business districts. We must enhance, revitalize, and beautify our city. Now is not the time to stop investing in our city. It is vital that we invest now with a sense of urgency and purpose knowing that the future of our city is at stake.
We must fight the brain drain in the state of Mississippi and once again Tupelo has an opportunity to lead the way. Now is the time for our city to go from “good to great.”
TUPELO CITY HALL
71 East Troy St.
Tupelo, MS, 38804