By Matthew Hendley and Madeleine Nolan
Brandon Pettis is an 18-year-old Oxford native entering the world of politics for the first time, and he’s starting off with a big challenge.
Pettis is running against incumbent Mayor Robyn Tannehill as an independent in the 2021 mayoral election. Tannehill, who is closing in on her first term as Oxford mayor after running unopposed as a democrat in 2017, will also be running as an independent.
Pettis graduated from Oxford High School in 2019, a year early, and then started studying political science at Northwest Mississippi Community College. Pettis said Oxford High School shaped him into who he is today.
“Oxford High School taught me how to be prepared for life, I was surrounded by a lot of good people, and all they wanted was to see me succeed,” Pettis said.
Pettis decided to take this year off of college to focus more on campaigning for the election, but he has not given up on college.
“I’m not going back to school immediately, but I’m going to go back to school and continue learning. This is not the end for me here, it’s just the beginning.”
The main initiative Pettis is focusing on is “Oxford First,” where he plans to secure more funds for the community such as housing initiatives as well as infrastructure. Pettis said there is also very few parks in the city.
“Not a lot for kids to do, and it’s things like those that I want to bring to the city,” he said.
He also plans to create more affordable housing and bring more jobs to the city. He says he wants to help small businesses in the community, as well as bring more franchises to Oxford.
Pettis has been playing his part in understanding the city’s finances over the past four years. He has kept a close eye on where the funds go in hopes to better re-allocate those funds for certain departments.
Yet, being 18-years-old and running for this high position comes with some difficulties. In the eyes of potential voters, this could be a problem. Pettis doesn’t see it that way, he thinks that a younger candidate will give the community a more-fresh perspective on certain issues.
“I’ve seen it all across the United States actually, younger people running for offices and doing amazing things that only older people would’ve done back then…and I think that’s really beautiful.”
Pettis is hoping that no matter the outcome, he will be able to sit down and discuss ideas and things they can work on. He is also opened to having a debate with Tannehill given the chance.
In his final regards to the electors, he wants people to know; “Anything is possible, whether or not I win or lose, I still made it to the ballot, and that was monumental to me.”
For more information on Pettis’s platform visit his website at Pettis4mayor.com. This year’s general election will take place on June 8th, 2021.