Dr. Ken Uselton has worked in the construction business, taught at universities and stood in the pulpit throughout his adulthood.
Now the Tennessee native is one step closer to his next possible job. On Aug. 2, Uselton received more than 900 votes to be the next mayor of Millington. But that was only good enough for 43.26 percent of the total votes casted.
Uselton will be in a runoff this Nov. 6 with former Millington mayor Terry Jones. Back in August Jones received 832 votes. The third person in the race last month was Debra Sigee.
She tallied 17.23 percent of the votes help leading to the runoff between Jones and Uselton. A couple of weeks from early voting Uselton continues to make the rounds speaking to community leaders like Millington Central High School Principal Mark Neal and Millington Chamber President Charles Gulotta.
Uselton recently sat down with The Millington Star to outline his platform and hopes for the future of Millington with him in charge.
1. How does it feel to be in runoff?
I’m sure anyone who is in a runoff will tell you, ‘I wish I won it outright to begin with.’ But in reality I think the fact we’re in a runoff says there was interest in the initial election that was broadspread. If you look at Sigee’s vote, the vote for her was a solid vote and well deserved. The vote for Terry was a solid vote. Then obviously I was pleased with the vote I got. Because there is that kind of interest, that gives me the sense when people start caring about their community, our community has a chance to take the steps, to grow and to reach to where we need and want and should be reaching. I take that as a positive.
Since that time and until to date, I’ve been going back and assessing and looking at how do I take the vote I had and grow it. That’s what I’ve been in the process of. As we grow closer to the election date, things will crank up and be more visible. Nothing about it was negative for me. I wouldn’t say desired, but it wasn’t unexpected.
2. What will be your mindset working with the new board, form of government?
I’m not afraid of the new form of government which will be ours. As mayor, even though it’s a part-time position, I’m going to give it my full effort. I don’t have another job I have to look after. I’m not saying I’m going to be at City Hall 24 hours a day, because obviously I’m not. The thing that’s going to be most important for me with basically a new board and new mayor, either one of us it’s a new mayor in a new form of government, I think it’s going to be important for us to have a board retreat. To build a relationship, not just a community because I already have that with everybody who is there. But a relationship as a board of Mayor and Aldermen and department heads. How do we then create that team that begins to development vision and move our city toward that vision.
There is the importance of building that team. It’s the building of Team Millington. What are the strengths they’ll bring and how do we bring out from each of them the leadership skills to create the best vision for our city.
3. What is the biggest issue moving forward?
No doubt about it, in the 15-plus years since I’ve been here, we have not had a vision for our city and it’s future.
One of the first and foremost important pieces is what is the vision that our city leaders and city stakeholders have for our city. I have in my mind the means of bringing that about. Through planning retreats and planning sessions.
(Uselton wants to pinpoint visions ranging from the business industry to housing green spaces)
There was a vision called 2010 when I got here. That’s the last vision we had. That was done in the early 90s. We have not updated or created a new.
My experience has been in construction, business and in the church. If you don’t have that vision of where you want to go, you might get there, but it might be a long time in coming.
For me, if our city doesn’t have a vision, then we’re going to be reactive instead of proactive. The most important thing for me is an proactive vision.
4. Why should you be the next Mayor of Millington?
I feel that I bring the skills and experience that are needed for the task. I am deeply committed to our city and its future which I believe is unlimited if we work toward a determined vision. Though the Mayor’s position is considered part-time, I am prepared to give it full time if necessary for the betterment of our community’s future.
I do believe I understand this community, the make up of this community and the potential of our community. I believe I have the skill set and experience to listen to the community and move the community to a stronger future. I also believe this is absolutely not about Ken Uselton. This is about the future of our community. Those things I bring to the moment are things our community strongly needs and then to move to the community to where we want to be and need to be. I’m the person for the moment.
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