By James Lakin | Mclain, MS
Earlier today, Mayor Steve McCluskey of the small town of Mclain, MS became the first Libertarian elected in Mississippi history. This is not only an incredible stride for the Libertarian Party, but a necessity for the struggling small town which Mayor McCluskey was elected to govern. Below, entails the policy goals of the Mayor and the potential benefits the Libertarian mayor possesses for a small town whose incumbent mayor was a Democrat.
After winning the election Mayor McCluskey said in a statement on Facebook.
“Humble” and “proud” does not begin to describe how I felt tonight at the inauguration of the aldermen and myself. The turnout was incredible and confirmed my belief that local government is paramount to all other levels because the engagement at the most basic level is possible. There are a couple things I would like to note.
First, the level of civility in this past election for McLain should make anyone envious. Even after the ballots were counted, the previous mayor, Clyde Sylvester, has helped me with anything I have asked for to make this transition as smooth as possible. He has went above and beyond to make McLain better. I thank him for that.
I was also advised earlier in the day, that McLain made history. I decided that I would affiliate with the Libertarian Party for one basic principle. Like I said tonight after my oath, I want the community involved and that myself nor any other elected official has the answer for all the problems and you know what is better for you more than anyone else. This is the people’s seat and I urge all to be just as involved as I will be. McLain is a diverse town and all voices will be heard with the citizens choosing which direction they want to go. It’s for that basic and simple principle that I chose the Libertarian Party. Because of that choice, McLain has the first and only elected Libertarian in state history. It only points out that our little town is in fact “unique” and “diverse”. It also highlights why I wanted to run for this seat because it was each individual that I have met that has made this town as special as it is.
Below are pictures from the swearing in. I want to thank my family, the aldermen, clergy and citizens that were in attendance. I also want to thank District 105 State Rep, Roun McNeal, for administering the oath of office to the aldermen and myself.
Now the work begins! Let’s get started!
Mclain, MS is a small town of less than 500 people that has been decimated by economic plight in the last decade, with its population decreasing by over 26%. In fact, its median household income is 40% less than the national average. It is located in the southeastern part of Mississippi and is known for its rivers, hunting, and fishing. Nevertheless, it is still, to this point, unable to overcome its fiscal tribulations.
But however dismal these circumstances may appear, Mayor McCluskey has several bold, Libertarian ideas that he feels have the potential to revitalize the small town. Some of his intentions include providing for the town a program that fosters educational excellence through the means of a mentorship program. McCluskey says that it will not only benefit the students, in grades 9-12, but motivate them to achieve dreams they never thought possible, such as going to college, a goal previously deemed unattainable for many in the town where 60% of residents either possess a high school degree or below.
Another goal of Mayor McCluskey is to allocate tax revenues to infrastructure based investment to assist in the input of corporate capital into the small town. He believes that it will assist in bringing back more jobs and encouraging individuals to move to the town. It will also, in his opinion, assist in bringing back tourism, which he states is good for the town’s economy.
People can go hunting in the woods, fishing on the sandbars, and stay in the hotels of Mclain, MS, which will possess innumerable benefits for the small town.
What is to come for the town is uncertain, however, with such a strong leader and the right local policy it has the potential to thrive as an idyllic southern escape and economic engine.
– Update –
Mayor McCluskey said in a statement to 71 Republic the afternoon of 7/9
It(getting elected) feels great. There are people who look, sound, and think like me throughout Mississippi. They are Libertarians and simply did not know it, like I didn’t know it for many years. They are “salt of the earth” people who care for eachother and want to be left alone by the government. I’m proud to give them a voice and am excited to see what the future holds.
And Mayor McCluskey does have a point. So many individuals are “closet Libertarians”, too afraid to leave the broken party that they hold dearest. Lifelong Democrats and Republicans are becoming fed up with the system, which gives rise to individuals like the Mayor.
His winning provides a new opportunity for Libertarians everywhere. Proof that someone with views as forward thinking as his can get elected into office and proof that Libertarians do indeed have the potential to change the course of politics as we know it.
To see the full speech of Mayor McCluskey click here.
Disclaimer: The opinions in this editorial do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 71republic.com or its proprietors.