Thursday, June 24, 2021

Meet the Candidates: At-large Alderman Race Q&A – Morgan and Bishop

By Alyssa Schnugg
News editor
alyssa.schnugg@hottytoddy.com

The Oxford municipal general election will be this Tuesday, 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.

This week, Hotty Toddy News is publishing Q&As with each of the candidates in the mayoral race and in Wards 235, 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 at-large seat on the Board of Aldermen: Incumbent Alderman John Morgan, running as Independent, and Democratic candidate Linda Porter Bishop.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order for fairness.


Linda Porter Bishop

Name: Linda Porter Bishop

Ward: I live in Ward 1 but running for alderman at-large

Age: 71

Party: Democrat

Family: I’m a single mom of four kids and the former wife of Dr. Watt Bishop. We share four children: Christopher, Bradley, Kate and Jennifer, and five grandchildren

Profession: I am a former elementary teacher and taught for six years, but for the past 25 years I was a professional and licensed interior designer working in large architectural offices specializing in healthcare construction.

Why did you decide to run for office and what do you bring to the table?

I decided to run for office because I believe I have the experience and skill sets that Oxford needs now.

I see Oxford at a very critical crossroad and managing growth is essential to our future success as a community. This is going to require different ways of thinking. We need problem solvers, listeners, collaborators and consensus builders. We need less of “we’ve always done it this way” and more of “let’s find a solution that works for our community now.” My background in the creative field of architecture and design — leading large teams of professionals and solving problems by thinking about solutions differently — is what is needed and what I bring to the table. 

What is the biggest problem facing Oxford and how will you solve it?

Our residents are our town’s biggest and best asset, and we should prioritize the needs of all of our residents. We have too many high school and college graduates leaving our city for better jobs elsewhere. We don’t have enough affordable housing for those lucky enough to find a job here. We have over 30 percent of our Black residents living below the poverty line. We have 175 children just at Bramlett Elementary who leave school every Friday afternoon with a LovePak of supplemental food for the weekend. Every Tuesday night at Stone Center, over 150 meals are served to families who need help. And there are 900 Meals on Wheels distributed every week in Lafayette County and Oxford. I will make our residents my No. 1 priority.

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

If I had $1 million to spend, I would:

  • establish a city department with an executive director to manage Poverty + Food Insecurity + Low Income Housing programs for Oxford’s families. This office would apply for state and federal grants and coordinate all the generous volunteer organizations working currently in Oxford. This office would also serve as a central information and assistance point for families and seniors in need.
  • fund more scholarships at OPC (Oxford Park Commission) for children who want to participate in team sports but whose families can’t afford the fees.
  • establish a land trust to help families with down payments in affordable workforce housing programs.
  • establish child care programs in low-income housing neighborhoods.
  • purchase playground equipment and construct covered play areas/basketball courts in every neighborhood.
  • restore and fund curbside recycling for all residents.
  • establish and fund a Student Rental Office and a program to regulate student rentals of single-family homes in city neighborhoods.
  • subsidize short-term curbside parking on the Square for Oxford’s permanent residents, especially seniors and families with small children who might have a difficult time parking in the garage.

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John Morgan

Name: John Morgan

Ward: At-large

Age: 59

Party: Independent

Family: Wife, Tracy, sons Gus, Sam and Ira

Profession: Director of Sales Invacare Corp.

Why did you decide to run for office?

I decided to run for office 12 years ago because of my love for Oxford. Having grown up here, but also seeing the incredible growth that we were experiencing, I wanted to make sure that we kept our small-town charm without hindering the growth that it takes to make a city vibrant and able to sustain that growth.

What do you bring to the table for this position?

First of all, I bring 12 years of experience (as the current at-large alderman), but more than that, I bring business experience and fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers of knowing how to balance a budget.

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

We have so many big issues but without a doubt, the biggest that we have are infrastructure issues. Whether you agree with me or not, we can’t accomplish any of the other things that people may want if we don’t have the infrastructure to make those things possible. This administration has worked well with the Legislature in Jackson to bring much-needed funds to Oxford and Lafayette County to make these needs a reality. I give our mayor much of the credit.

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

Unfortunately, $1 million wouldn’t go that far anymore, but I would probably look to use it for a matching fund of 20 to 25 percent to bring a bigger package. With the upcoming infrastructure bill in Congress, I would hope that we could parlay that million dollars into much more. In other words, I would use it for infrastructure.


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