Your Vote “The Mayors Race” Southaven


By Amanda Compton-Ortiz

Editor Note : James Weifenbach did not respond to any inquiries concerning his candidacy.

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite isn’t ready to leave his post just yet.
His job of leading the third largest city in the state of Mississippi over the last four years has been more of a successful rescue mission than anything else.

“I decided to run for mayor when asked by citizens to help our city that was troubled by scandal, corruption, and negativity at that time. I’m proud to say that we resolved those problems and brought back respect and integrity to our city government.

“My motivation for another term is to complete the pending projects that I have planned and on which I have worked many hours. I want to see Southaven reach our potential before I leave service.”

Musselwhite was elected to the seat in 2013, defeating longtime mayor Greg Davis.

Musselwhite, 49, will join two other contenders, Tommy Henley, also 49, and James Weifenbach, in this year’s race for Southaven city mayor. They are all running as Republicans.
The primary election set for May 2, and the general election will be June 6.

Musselwhite owns Musselwhite Insurance Agency, LLC/Shelter Insurance Companies.
He attended Hope Sullivan Elementary School and graduated with honors from Southaven High School in 1985. He holds a BBA in Managerial Finance from the University of Mississippi. He’s also a former professional baseball player, drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1989. He played in the minor leagues for the Giants and the Minnesota Twins from 1989 to 1992.

He is founder of the DeSoto Rays Youth Baseball Organization and coaches Southaven Steelers Youth Football.
He has been married to Laurie Honeycutt Musselwhite for 19 years. The couple has three sons and attends Life Fellowship Church in Southaven.
Musselwhite’s parents, James and Diane Musselwhite, moved to Southaven when he was just 6 months old.

“I grew up in Colonial Hills (subdivision) when Southaven’s population was under 10,000,” he said. “It was a great place to grow up as many young families bought their first home and our neighborhoods were filled with kids.

Tommy Henley graduated from Southaven High School in 1987.
He attended Northwest Mississippi Community College, then Northwest Junior College, as well as the University of Tennessee.
Henley, like Musselwhite, grew up in Southaven’s Colonial Hills subdivision. His parents both worked full time. His father worked at DeSoto County Redi-Mix and his mother worked at Big Star, both located in Southaven.

Henley’s first job was pressure washing for Triple A Mobile Wash. And today, he is owner of Team Mobile, LLC, a business he started that has grown into a large corporation that specializes in hazardous materials for the medical device industry.

He said he was prompted to become involved in politics while his wife, Michele, was campaigning for DeSoto County’s District 2 School Board seat, which she won in November.

“Having grown up and raising my children in Southaven are also driving factors in my decision to run for mayor,” he said. “My desire is that all areas of Southaven be as safe and thriving as the others.

“Having grown up in Colonial Hills, and having lived in Brookhollow and Greenbrook (subdivisions), I want to see the older areas of the city be safe, thriving areas for families looking to live in our great city.”

Henley and his wife, along with their four daughters, attend Lifepoint Church, where they are active in various youth and mission trip programs throughout Mississippi and


1. What do you hope for as mayor?

Musselwhite: My ultimate purpose is to make Southaven a better place to live which entails initiatives in every facet of our operation.

Henley: My hope as mayor of Southaven is that all citizens would be safe, that we will have more than sufficient job opportunities, and that all citizens would work together to ensure Southaven is the best city for everyone.

2. Where do you see Southaven five years from now?

Musselwhite: I see Southaven as an even larger economic player in not just Mississippi and the Memphis-Metro, but on a regional scale. I also see us as one of the most attractive places to live with great housing options, improved property values, quality healthcare, great public schools, and an enhanced recreational and entertainment value.

Henley: In five years, I see Southaven being the safest city in Mississippi. I also see a city where businesses, taxpayers and city government work together to recruit industry to bring more jobs into our community.

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

What I see as important: Maintaining public safety and meeting the challenge of these growing demands on our personnel.
Aggressive infrastructure improvement to mitigate traffic congestion and prepare us for future economic growth.
Revitalization of “Original Southaven.” We need to continue using incentives to bring restaurants and other business back to our original business district and renovate dilapidated commercial buildings. We will modernize all intersections on Highway 51 and bring volleyball to our Arena, adult softball to Cherry Valley, and push plans for a performing arts center on Northwest Drive.
Continued beautification efforts to add to our economic attractiveness throughout our city.
Continued parks enhancement with an indoor softball training facility at Greenbrook, Springfest parking lot pavement, Amphitheater expansion, which will bring better entertainers, soccer at Snowden Grove, and a new budget line to improve all neighborhood parks.
Economic Development; negotiated pending developments will become reality with new restaurants, hotels, retail, and mixed use developments in the Getwell corridor and I-55/Church area specifically with the “Snowden Square” entertainment district at Nail/Getwell to make a pedestrian-friendly entertainment area similar to Overton Square in Memphis. We also have great potential and will continue recruiting industrial developments and corporate headquarters near I-55/Star Landing.
Continued financial stability by increasing sales tax revenue to stabilize property tax rates and continue debt reduction.

Henley: If elected, I will have an open-door policy and even move the mayor’s office to the first floor of city hall making my office more accessible to the people who elected me. That’s one of my priorities, and I feel it will make the people of Southaven happy.
I will never support raising or renewing a tax unless the people vote otherwise for a designated purpose.
I will cut the mayors salary in half to a more realistic amount. There is no need for the Southaven Mayor to make
more than the Governor.

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

Musselwhite: I have numerous pending developments that will become reality and I want to continue improving the aesthetic value and economic attractiveness of our city, which will improve property values and our quality of life.

Henley: I chose the hashtag #OneSouthaven because that’s what I would like to see change. I would like to see a unified city where everyone works together to achieve the goals for our city.

5. What is your motivation for running for mayor?

Musselwhite: I spent a large part of my first term correcting problems, bringing back our good reputation, and completing long-term pending projects, some of which were failing. My motivation for another term is to complete the pending projects that I have planned and on which I have worked many hours. I want to see Southaven reach our potential before I leave service
Henley: I am running for mayor because I want to improve our community’s quality of life, lower the cost of living and continue the tremendous progress we have made. Also, I believe in limiting government in the daily lives of citizens.

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

Musselwhite: A city our size has many things that must happen concurrently as all things work together for our entire well-being. But one of our specific, immediate needs is an allocation of more money to street improvement since we are behind because of poor planning in the past and the repercussions of the 2008 housing decline that left so many new subdivisions without properly surfaced streets
Henley: I would immediately implement my safety plan, which includes additional police officers, substations, and the use of real-time cameras.

The election is May 2.