By NATHAN GREGORY
Two-term Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey has confirmed that he will not seek a third term when city elections are held next year.
Corey, who first took office in 2005, said he had been contemplating his second term being his last for a substantial period of time and is wanting to focus more on his career. He is a computer support specialist for the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University.
“As I became more involved in my career at Mississippi State, I desired more time to be able to focus on that and have more time for myself. I decided I wanted to focus more on my career. I never set out to stay in politics my whole life,” Corey said. “It was something I wanted to do to give back to Starkville because Starkville has given so much to me, but I’ve gotten to the point now where I’ve spent more of my adult life in public office than I have out of it.”
Corey said some of the highlights of his time in office have been working with the city to form a technology committee which worked toward the adoption of the 311 system. That program is the city’s non-emergency government report line, which is available for residents to call in cases of animal control problems, street deficiencies and water line breakages among others.
He also said he was pleased with his work with Starkville Electric Department to improve their software to allow for online payments for ratepayers. Among other accomplishments, he said helping to revamp the city’s website and being on the committee that wrote the language for the smoking ordinance in 2007 were notable. The ordinance, which prohibits smoking inside all public establishments, was the first of its kind in Mississippi. Since that adoption, more than 60 communities in the state have gone smoke-free.
Corey said the timing of his announcement is based on his desire for other Ward 4 residents who want to serve to have time to think about doing so.
“One of the reasons why I want to make this announcement now is that I want to give people that are interested in serving their community that live in Ward 4 the opportunity to think about whether they would like to step up to the plate and have the time to study it and give them time to make their own decisions on whether or not they want to run,” he said.
The city’s redistricting process gives Ward 4 territory it did not have before. He said that fact did not play into why he wants to leave public office.
“I had leaned towards not running again before redistricting even came up for discussion,” he said. “Therefore the change in Ward 4 is not a factor in my decision.”
He said the opportunity to serve Starkville has been a privilege and he wishes the best of luck to those who will run to be Ward 4’s new leader next year.
“Just as I left my mark on Starkville, Starkville has left its mark on me,” Corey said. “Although I plan to stay here for now, no matter where I go, I will never forget my time here.”