I’ve been interested in politics and public service since I was a teenager. I’ve often been dissatisfied with the way government works (and in many cases doesn’t work) and considered running for office. About a week ago I decided it was time to stop just talking about government and to do something about it by running for a seat in my local government.
So, with that in mind, yesterday I filed papers to run for alderman (what we call our city council members) for my local ward (district) in Starkville. While I list eight priorities on my campaign website at MikeAllen.com, in short, I want to see Starkville become the kind of community our children will want to make as their home when they grow up and establish their careers. That means we have a lot of work to do. I’m excited about the prospect of being part of the solution and I look forward to the campaign and public service.
I am taking part in The FORUM which is a one-year leadership development initiative for Starkville and the Oktibbeha County community in Mississippi. It is sponsored by the the Greater Starkville Development Partnership and managed by the Mississippi State University Extension Service.
One of our class projects is to do an individual research project on a historical person, event or structure that helps make Oktibbeha County what it is today. I chose to research Dr. Douglas L. Conner. My reasons for this choice were twofold: 1) I knew little about him and 2) I had for nearly ten years been driving on a street named after him.
For this project I was able to read his autobiography entitled A Black Physician’s Story: Bringing Hope in Mississippi (1985) which was written with long-time friend and Mississippi State University William L. Giles Distinguished Professor John F. Marszalek. I also was able to interview his wife and daughter. His life was full and his story very compelling. Though he lived to be 78 years old, he never retired.
I have included my report and presentation slides below:
In closing, I was honored to give this presentation to my class on November 13, 2008. I found that date especially fitting since it exactly marked the ten year anniversary of Dr. D. L. Conner’s passing. I was also honored to share a portion of the story of a man who gave more than 50 years of his life in the service of my community.