Your Vote “The Mayors Race” Horn Lake

Horn Lake,MS

By Amanda Compton-Ortiz

Horn Lake Mayor Allen Latimer is not one to leave behind unfinished business.

That’s exactly why he has decided to seek re-election to a second term.
Latimer said since taking over the post in 2013 from then Mayor Nat Baker, he and other city officials have been working relentlessly on thier mission to receive additional funding to improve city roads, trails and parks.

The city is seeking an $5 million in project funds to help control flooding in neighborhoods and along city roadways.

“We have been asking the Corps of Engineers to bill retention and detention areas, and so far no luck,” Latimer said.”They are short of funds also. But we go to all the meetings to keep our faces in front of them.”

Latimer, 70, will be running again for the mayor’s seat as a Republican candidate in this year’s election
against newcomer Mike Guice, 51, also a Republican, in the 2017 primaries that will take place May 2.

While Guice has never held political office, he has served over 32 years in government in various positions of leadership.

His family history in Horn Lake is on the side of his stepfather, Albert Woods, a longtime resident of DeSoto County who spent many years as a reserve officer for DeSoto County.

Guice still today has relatives living in Horn Lake and throughout DeSoto County.

His wife, Rhonda Guice, was a longtime educator and coach at Horn Lake High School and is currently the principal at Lake Cormorant High School. The couple has two grown children, Chelsea and Dylan.

Guice said he is tired of watching the city he loves take a back seat to others in the county when it comes to infrastructure, economic development and other areas of growth.

“If elected mayor, I hope to change the direction of this city,” he said. “Over the last four years, the city seems to have not progressed in any way, but in many ways, seems to be regressing.”

Guice started a career in law enforcement in 1989 with the Delta State University Police and then moved to the Greenville Police Department.

He moved to Horn Lake in 1992 and began working at the Horn Lake Police Department until he retired in 2013. While at Horn Lake Police Department,

Guice held numerous positions including patrolman, detective, assistant TACT unit commander, SRO supervisor, detective division commander and operations division commander.

Guice has served as an appointed member of the DeSoto County 911 Commission and is currently a member of the Holly Grove Home Owners Association and the Crime Stoppers Board. He also works with various rescue groups saving homeless dogs.

Guice served on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corp. from 1983 to 1987, when he received an Honorable Discharge. He then completed another four years in the Marine Reserves.

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology from Delta State University. He also has a Master of Public Administration from Arkansas State University, where he learned how to manage and supervise government agencies.

Guice attended FBI-LEEDA, a national executive leadership program. And in 2012, he went on to attend the prestigious FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA, where he learned executive leadership and management for government agencies from top instructors across the nation.

Latimer served on the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors for eight years from 2005 to 2013 and did not seek re-election that year in order to run for mayor.

Latimer was raised in Horn Lake where his mother and father operated a country store known as BullFrog Corner, most noted for its barbecue, from 1924 to

1969. Horn Lake was at that time a very rural community. In 1957, Latimer said, the entire student body, grades 1-12, was about 250. And the post office, he said, was located in another country store by the railroad tracks.

Latimer attended Horn Lake School from first through 12th grades, graduating in 1965. After that, he attended what was Northwest Junior College, graduating in 1967. That fall he went on to attend Christian Brothers College and graduated in 1969 with a degree in history.

“On one occasion,” Latimer said, “Governor (Phil) Bryant asked about my upbringing, and I replied about being raised in a country store. His reply was, ‘You were lucky.’ I realize how true his words were. Working in the store I developed a trait to know people on an individual basis.”

Latimer describes his parents as loving, honest, hard-working Americans. His father, Roger Latimer, graduated from Horn Lake in 1917. His mother, Lucille Best Latimer, graduated from Oakland (Mississippi) High School.

They are Roman Catholics, and Latimer has been a member of Christ the King Parish for over 50 years. He has two sisters, Rocille and Neita.

“My parents were firm believers in being involved in the community, including politics,” Latimer said. “In those days, elections got everybody’s attention.

There was public speaking on the school grounds in Horn Lake. It was a chance to hear the candidates and also an occasion for visiting. Various groups sold food at these events, and we youngsters had a grand time. Usually we would listen to some of the speakers, and I believe my interest in politics started there.”

Latimer is also a member of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Historic DeSoto Foundation, and the DeSoto County Genealogical Society.

Latimer is married to Joan Starcher Latimer for the last 40 years and have lived in Horn Lake the whole time.


1. What do you hope for if elected mayor?

Latimer: As mayor, I hope to see Horn Lake continue to grow with more businesses and jobs for our citizens. Along with that hope is a desire for our city to retain its small town character. We still wave and speak to each other here. Also, it is my hope for our city to be able to offer more quality of life opportunities for our citizens.

Guice: If elected mayor, I hope to change the direction of this city. Over the last four years the city seems to have not only not progressed in any way, but in many ways, seems to be regressing. I would be a proactive, motivated mayor that will work with elected officials, city employees, citizens and business owners to take Horn Lake from near the bottom in this county to the forefront. I am tired of the city that I love being overshadowed by the other communities in this county.

2. Where do you see Horn Lake five years from now?

Latimer: Five years from now, I would like to see our roads receive the attention they deserve and to have more trails in the land along Horn Lake Creek. This land was donated to Horn Lake by the family of the late Hugh Dancy. Mr. Dancy was deeply concerned about making Horn Lake a desirable place to live, work and raise a family.

Guice: If elected, I expect to see the city on a different track in five years. I expect to see our streets and other infrastructure problems fixed. I expect to see happy, properly paid employees that are doing a good job for our citizens. I expect to see a thriving and growing tax base due to new businesses and industry moving into our city. I would also like to see an improved no-kill animal shelter. Last but not least, I would like to see our parks and sports programs expanded and affordable for all citizens so that our youth have a place to stay off the streets and out of trouble.

3. If elected, what are you going to do to make the people happy?

Latimer: I believe for our citizens to remain happy we must, first of all, maintain a safe community. At the present time we are ranked the sixth safest city in Mississippi. We should develop the trails and add more to our parks. Our funds are limited at this time, but that is getting better each year. As more businesses open and current ones refurbish, our financial situation continues to improve. In addition, a major bond issued before the recession will be paid off in 2020.

Guice: I’m not sure that I can make everyone happy, but I will work hard to do so. In my opinion, the best way to make people happy is to improve their quality of life as much as I can as an elected official. I will do this by making our community and schools safer, fixing our streets, improving our parks and sports programs, making city government more responsive to the needs and complaints of the public and by bringing businesses and jobs to our city. In short, I will make the people happy and proud to live in Horn Lake.

4. Are there any changes you would like to see?

Latimer: I would love to see more people vote and attend events at the schools and churches. We are blessed with numerous churches in Horn Lake, and they are always stepping forward to assist in events at the parks and to open their doors to students after school hours. I believe for a community to succeed it must have a moral and spiritual foundation. In Horn Lake, our churches provide that foundation for future growth and for the happiness of our citizens.

Guice: I would like to see our streets and infrastructure fixed. I would like to see our parks and sports programs expanded and made affordable for all citizens. I would also like to see city employees have comparable pay to those of surrounding cities. I would like to see emergency services (fire, police, EMS) fully staffed and equipped. I would also like to see city government run in an ethical, efficient and productive way that is responsive to the needs of the citizens.

5. What is your motivation for running for mayor?

Latimer: There were some goals I had that I did not achieve. If re-elected, I wish the Board of Aldermen and myself could achieve these goals; better roads, trails and parks.

Guice: My motivation for running for mayor is my love for the City of Horn Lake. My wife and I have lived here for many years and have served our community that entire time. I’m weary of excuses of why we lag behind every other city. I’m tired of bad streets, underpaid employees, vacant lots and businesses either leaving or not even considering this city as a location for a new store. I believe that the problem isn’t our citizens or location, but a lack of leadership and vision. Our city does not need a passive mayor. It needs an active, motivated mayor that will get out there and fight for the citizens and businesses of Horn Lake.

6. If there was one thing or need this year you could implement immediately, what would it be?

Latimer: One thing to implement immediately; to be able to have the funds to repair our roads.

Guice: My first action as mayor will be to work on a bond issue to present to the Board of Alderman to fix our streets and sidewalks. I truly believe that if I present a plan to the Aldermen to fix our streets they will not hesitate to vote yes on that issue.