"I am running for mayor because Sikeston is at a crossroad. The first elected mayor under our new charter form of government will set the tone and direction of our city for many years to come," said Mike Marshall regarding his candidacy. "I am a life-long resident of this area and want all of our citizens to prosper and to enjoy a high quality of life."
Marshall has been married for 25 years to Beth, a teacher in the Sikeston Public Schools. They have two children, Austin, a freshman at the University of Mississippi, and Catherine, a junior at Sikeston High School, and attend St. Francis Xavier Church.
A graduate of Sikeston High School and Westminster College, Marshall has worked in banking and investment services since graduating from college in 1978.
Marshall is a past president of both the Sikeston Jaycees and the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce and was honored with the Jaycees' Distinguished Service Award.
He is also currently a member of the Sikeston Rotary Club and the Knights of Columbus and serves on the City Council and as a commissioner of the Southeast Missouri Port Authority.
"I will bring important skills and experience to the mayor's office. Because of my business background in banking and agriculture and my service as president of the Chamber of Commerce, I am familiar with most of the businesses in town and their employees," Marshall said.
"I have helped several new companies move their business operations to Sikeston. I have also worked with the SEMO Port Authority and the Northern Interchange Project. My three years on the City Council have given me an understanding of those parts of city government which are working well and those which need improvement. Just as important as my business and public service background, I have the ability to work with a wide range of people. I help people from all parts of town and from all backgrounds every day. This will not be a partisan election, but I am strongly supported by many people in both political parties as well as many independents. My ability to create a consensus among different groups and to deliver results will make my term as mayor successful."
Marshall said Sikeston's image is among the city's biggest problems.
"Over the last 10 years Sikeston has developed an image problem that is not conducive to growth. We have recently made some important improvements. We have reduced crime that was taking over parts of town. I give Chief Juden credit for improvements in our police force," Marshall said. "We now need to work on our city's appearance. There are 63 dilapidated houses and numerous commercial buildings which need to be torn down and hopefully redeveloped. The citizens voted for the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority almost two years ago. We need to get this program moving. We will not be able to attract new industry, business and workers to Sikeston until we roll up our sleeves and work hard to improve our image and quality of life. I want this town to be attractive and prosperous so our talented young people will want to stay here and new industries, businesses and workers will want to come."
Marshall said Sikeston's challenges are directly related to the problems of the Bootheel.
"This area has a high dropout rate. Portions of our work force do not have the education and training needed to work in sophisticated manufacturing and service jobs. Teen births, many times to unwed mothers, create single-parent families with very difficult futures. Some low-income and poorly educated individuals resort to drugs and crime to obtain the level of income and lifestyle glorified by the media," Marshall said.
"We need to encourage students to stay in school and to seek higher education through SAHEC. We also need to clean up our dilapidated buildings and improve the appearance of our town through tougher enforcement of city codes and the use of the LCRA. We need to accelerate our efforts to bring good-paying jobs to Sikeston. Some people say that Sikeston's best years are behind us, but with hard work addressing these issues, I believe that the best is yet to come."