Local Elections

Published on May 12th, 2021 | by Jenna Mason


The Race Is On: Q&A with Ward VI Candidates Jason Bailey and Miguel Centellas for Oxford, Mississippi’s June 8 Municipal Election

For residents living inside Oxford city limits, municipal election campaigns are now underway. Potential voters must register prior to May 10 at 5 pm to participate in the 2021 election for alderpersons and mayor of Oxford. Registered voters who cannot be present to cast votes in the June 8, 2021, election are now eligible to cast absentee votes. Citizens may register to vote at City Hall or at the Lafayette County Circuit Clerk’s office located inside the Lafayette County Courthouse. Both locations are at the downtown Square.

Two seats go uncontested this year: incumbents Rick Addy (Ward I) and Kesha Howell-Atkinson (Ward IV) run unopposed in the general election. Wards II, III, V, VI, and the Alderman-At-Large will be decided by voters on June 8. We’ve asked each candidate a few short questions to help voters make up their minds before hitting the booths on that date.

Jason Bailey (R) – Ward VI Incumbant

Tell us about yourself and your connection to Oxford.

I am a life-long resident of Oxford and a proud graduate of both Oxford High School and the University of Mississippi where I received a bachelor of Business Administration. My wife, Greta, and I have two sons, George (11) and Henry (9), and we have lived in Ward 6 since 2006.
I am an owner of four small businesses, the largest of which is Summit Management Services, LLC, founded in 2009. We presently employ ten full-time employees and three part-time.

Why did you decide to run for office? Have you engaged in public service previously?

In 2012 I decided to run for Alderman of Ward 6 because I felt the residents of the Ward needed a voice that best represented their needs and beliefs. I have proudly served the residents of Ward 6 as their alderman for the past nine years and am now seeking re-election for a third term to continue my representation of the residents as our community continues to grow. Over the past nine years, I have taken the helm of many projects focused on improving Ward 6 and the City of Oxford, and I am presently serving as Mayor Pro Tem.
Over the years I have served on City of Oxford Planning Commission, volunteered as a coach at the Oxford Park Commission to help teach our children the value of participating in team sports, and served as chairman of the Oxford Reserve and Trust Board and Three Rivers Planning and Development Board.

What are your top priorities for Oxford?

My top priority for Oxford is the funding and continued planning for infrastructure. The amount of new infrastructure and continuous maintenance of the current infrastructure will require additional help with funding these projects. Over the past four years we have made headways in forming relationships with leaders at the federal and state level; I feel this will help Oxford achieve the goal of meeting these needs without having to raise taxes.

Miguel Centellas (D)

Tell us about yourself and your connection to Oxford.

I moved here to Oxford after my wife accepted a position at the university in 2009, where I also teach. We have made Oxford our home, and find it a great place to raise our three children, including our two youngest who were born here. Like a lot of people who’ve contributed to the city’s growth, we now call Oxford home.

Why did you decide to run for office? Have you engaged in public service previously?

I hadn’t previously thought about running for office. I’m a political scientist (I teach political sociology and international studies at the Croft Institute on campus), so I’ve generally thought of myself as an observer and scholar, not an activist. But early this year several members of the Lafayette County Democrats, including friends and neighbors in the community, asked me to run. After thinking it over and reflecting on the direction the city has drifted in the last few years, I decided to run. But I have been involved in community service, mostly through my involvement in Boy Scouts (I’m an Assistant Scoutmaster in Troop 144) and Girl Scouts, and also my church (St. Peter’s), as well as coaching various OPC youth sports teams.

What are your top priorities for Oxford?

I want to make sure Oxford is inclusive, equitable, and sustainable. A lot of my neighbors and other residents feel like city government doesn’t address their concerns or doesn’t listen to them. I’ve lived in the Woodlawn Neighborhood for years, and I’ve never seen or met my opponent (Jason Bailey), who’s a two-term incumbent. A lot of my neighbors say the same thing. Some tell me I’m the only candidate who’s ever knocked on their door. I want to change that. I’m running to put Oxford residents first, ahead of the interests of strip mall and condo developers. I’m proposing a Participatory Budgeting initiative that would put the decision of how to spend our city’s revenue directly in the hands of residents. I want to improve our public green spaces and parks, including small neighborhood parks. I want to focus on affordable housing and income inequality. I want to start with a focus on city employees. Teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other city employees should be able to afford to live in the community they serve. Bottom line: I want to help keep Oxford a city of tight knit neighborhoods, not a series of strip malls.

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