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Meet the Candidates: Ward 5 Alderman Race Q&A – Chadwick and Taylor

The Oxford municipal general election will be June 8. Oxford residents can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Oxford Conference Center for mayor and their preferred candidate for the Board of Aldermen in their respective wards.

Absentee voting can be done at City Hall through Saturday.

This week, Hotty Toddy News is publishing Q&As with each of the candidates in the mayoral race and in Wards 2, 3, 5, 6 and at-large.

Ward 1 Alderman Rick Addy won the primary and has no opponents in the general election and Ward 4 Alderman Keisha Howell-Atkinson was unopposed.

Today, we hear from the two candidates vying for the Ward 5 seat on the Board of Aldermen: Democrat and incumbent Alderman Preston Taylor and Republican candidate Barney Chadwick.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order for fairness.

Barney Chadwick

Name: Barney Chadwick

Ward: 5

Age: 67

Party: Republican

Family: Spouse, Jeanne, and children, Hudson and Elizabeth, as well as five grandchildren

Profession: Hospitality management, local business owner (Rafters Restaurants with son Hudson) and founded Goose Creek Tennis Club

Why did you decide to run for office?

Small businesses in Oxford really struggled during the pandemic. I was asked by many of my fellow business owners if I would run for office and be a voice for small businesses and the community.

What do you bring to the table for this position?

I have 30-plus years of hospitality management experience, including general manager of the River Hills Club in Jackson. Served on the Board of Directors of many organizations, including past president of the Mississippi Professional Tennis Association (USPTA).

What is the biggest issue facing city leaders and your thoughts to improve it?

Managing planned growth that is accomplished by a long-term strategic strategy providing an environment that addresses the critical balance that exists between a great university-driven destination and retaining the unique hometown attraction of our beloved town.

I understand the challenge, and I will approach tough decisions with a commonsense approach that comes from my lifelong experience.

If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

The city of Oxford has done a great job with the sidewalk improvements, bike lanes and other aesthetics that enhance the charm of our city. Unfortunately, our antique electrical and drainage infrastructure is in bad need of repair and updating. There is nothing glamourous about spending money on things no one can see, but this infrastructure affects all of us and needs to be addressed.


Preston Taylor

Name: Preston E. Taylor

Party: Democrat

Family: Single with six siblings and many wonderful nieces, nephews and cousins

Profession: Retired public school educator, 36 years

Why did you decide to run for office?

My parents taught us that public service was the most important thing for us to help pave the road for others to follow. Having done this in 36 years in public schools, I chose to continue my public service in local government, which I have enjoyed doing for years now. There is still work to be done in Ward 5.

What do you bring to the table for this position?

What I bring to the table is calm, common sense and reasoning, with a vast amount of experience in life and in Ward 5, where I am proud to have been born, raised and reside, all the way back to when West Jackson Avenue was a dirt road. Having lived in Ward 5 my entire life, I know the history, issues and solutions that have happened over generations. I know the people of Ward 5 like family and chose to continue my public service after retiring from teaching, to give the people of my ward a seat at the table and a voice.

What do you feel is the biggest issue city leaders are facing and your thoughts on how to improve it?

Oxford has good problems, but they are still problems nonetheless. Many of the issues that need addressing have different state and federal funds that will fix them. Examples are internet access for students coming from federal funds, and Highway 7 issues coming from MDOT state funds.

If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city any way you wanted, what would you do with it and why?

I would like to see such a grant be used to expand and improve ADA-compliant sidewalks throughout all areas to provide a safe walkway for the many people walking to and from work, schools and stores. An additional portion of the funding should be used to re-instate the curbside recycling program.

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