Alderman at Large seat up for grabs in Ocean Springs

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - At 42, Bobby Cox has been cutting hair for 22 years.  Now he wants to cut his teeth in the political arena.

"I've got many, many friends in the business community here and I can listen to their problems and I can bring it to the table," Cox said.

Melanie Allen, 59, has been heavily involved in dozens of city projects for years.

"I have managed more than $15 million in grant funds in public programs for health and education," Allen said. "I'm equipped to look at a budget and know whether our overhead costs are out of line."

Both candidates agree growth in the city needs to be carefully controlled.

"Growing within our means. I really think that's it," Cox stressed. "We're doing well, but I think our biggest problem is going to be overspending. We need to keep it so the average citizen can afford to live in Ocean Springs."

Allen offered her thoughts on the topic.

"We're blessed with a great community and really good people. They're very family and faith oriented, but since Katrina we've seen a tremendous amount of growth in Ocean Springs. And I think we're seeing growing pains right now," Allen said.

So what are Cox and Allen hearing from the voters?

"Don't raise our taxes and keep Ocean Springs Ocean Springs," Cox said. "We want to live in Ocean Springs. We don't want to live in Key West or any of these other cities. They want Ocean Springs to be what it's been all these years."

"Taxes and insurance, those are huge issues," Allen said. "They are stressors on every family and I can't say enough about how much this is about smart government. This is about the people at city hall managing the money that comes out of the paychecks of the good people of Ocean Springs."

The winner of Tuesday's citywide election will fill the unexpired term of former alderman at large Troy Ross, who was elected to the Jackson County Board of Supervisors.  The polls open at 7am and close at 7pm.

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