"I am the candidate for Mayor of Sikeston who led the development and adoption of our Charter, who has been involved in diverse parts of our community, and who sees the need for this improved direction," said Harry Sharp regarding his candidacy. "The various factions of Sikeston are more divided today than at any time in our history. Frankly, we have serious problems involving race and economic status. I would like to lead our city in addressing these areas to improve the quality of life for all our citizens. A part of that improvement will be a city whose departments, boards, and commissions work for one common purpose, all of us.
Sharp is married to Anita. Their children include two sons and a daughter-in-law, Woody and Angela Sharp of Sikeston and Tim Davis at the University of Georgia; a daughter, Karen Davis, who is a recent graduate of LaGrange College, Ga., and three grandchildren who also live in Sikeston.
"I am retired from IBM Corporation, have taught physics at Sikeston and Kelly high schools, and have been the pastor of Smith Chapel United Methodist Church," Sharp said. "I served in Korea during the Cuban Missile Crisis and am a Vietnam-era veteran."
Organizations and activities have included: chair of the Sikeston Charter Commission, Missouri United Methodist Foundation Board of Directors, District Committee of the Boy Scouts of America, past president Sikeston Area Ministerial Alliance, Sikeston Planning and Zoning Board for 6 years, Sikeston Community Chorus, Weed and Seed, Bootheel Healthy Start, Sikeston Elks Lodge, American Legion, First United Methodist Church, First United Methodist Men and Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce.
Sharp has over 30 years of sales, marketing, management, and management consulting skills with IBM and The Sharper System.
"I have developed major business and marketing plans, created extensive technical and educational writings, and consulted with management of major U.S. and foreign corporations and government entities," Sharp said. "I was raised in Sikeston, one of six generations of family to live here, family that was involved in Sikeston throughout the 20th century. My activities and involvement have been across the community, not just in a particular neighborhood, and I have taken a 'community' view of issues. Since returning to Sikeston, I have managed commercial property, rental property, a farm, and participated in the development of affordable housing in Sikeston.
"Throughout my military, business, education, and ministerial careers I have related successfully with people from many cultures and every walk of life. I feel I have the background, interest, experience, and ability to help chart the future of our community.
"Most recently I led the Charter Commission to create, promote, and have adopted the Sikeston City Charter. That provided great insight into the document that frames our city's government."
Sharp said attracting a strong and expanded base of private sector jobs and addressing infrastructure improvements are among Sikeston's biggest challenges.
"The strength of a community, state, or nation is predicated upon the strength of the middle class, to which most of us belong," Sharp said. "Sikeston needs to facilitate the expansion of that job base while addressing infrastructure improvements including flooding, streets, and overall appearance of our city."
Sharp noted that despite many attractive buildings constructed over the last decade, the recent census showed Sikeston's population declined over the last 10 years.
"There is no crystal ball here, but if we are to return to our former viability, we must attract many more, good paying, middle class job opportunities. We must continue to work on improving our infrastructure, have an open, accessible, and affordable government, and more seriously address the flooding problems in our city," Sharp said. "These issues can be addressed successfully. I would like the opportunity to lead our City Council as we tackle them, and I need your help and support to accomplish that. This is not just another City Council election, it is the dawn of a new day."