Cheri Barry Meridian’s first woman mayor
by Sheena Adams-Avery
Jun 05, 2009 | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In a vigorous and unprecedented race, Republican Candidate Cheri Barry makes history becoming the first woman mayor of Meridian. With a lead of 293 votes, Barry wins the mayoral race with 4,880 votes while Democratic Candidate Percy Bland had 4,587.

“It is just a great honor to be a part of this process. I’m so grateful to this community for supporting me in the way that they have,” said Barry. “I’m so excited about the opportunity to serve this community and I look forward to moving Meridian forward together with every body in this community.”

Barry, whose platform was “Back to Basics,” said that with the race being so close showed that there was a lot of division in the community. “One of the main things with ‘Back to Basics’ was to bring down the lines of division. I look forward to partnering with Mr. Bland in any way possible to get those lines of division down so that we can move Meridian forward,” said Barry.

A 1977 graduate of the University of Mississippi, Barry began her professional career with the Lafayette County welfare system, helping children and geriatric abuse victims. She later worked with the Lauderdale County Welfare Department. A former business owner, Barry operated B.J.’s Alley, a $2 million corporation. From 1998 to 2001, Barry taught in the Meridian Public Schools system. She served as the Executive Director of the Red Cross Key Chapter from 2001 until 2009.

Barry has been married to her husband, County Attorney Rick Barry, for 31 years. They have three children, Jennifer Barry Fowler and her husband, David; Jay Barry and his wife, Catherine and Merritt Barry.

“Meridian has always been my home and always will be. They are my family, my friends, my neighbors, my colleagues,” said Barry during her campaign. “We deserve ethical, sensible, and responsible action in government.”

“As mayor, I will bring practicality, sensibility, and creativity to the projects of our city that are already committed…I will address our city’s dire need for neighborhood revitalization and increased property values,” she said.

Barry has stated that as mayor she will decrease frivolous spending, lower the tax burden and create opportunities in Meridian for developing businesses. She has also stated that she will repair the city’s roadways, bridges and water management systems, clean the city’s streets of litter and restore safety to our neighborhoods. “I will create open-door policies, repair relationships with other government entities and work with all diversities of Meridian to ensure that all our citizens’ needs are addressed,” said Barry.

“I know I don’t take office until July 1, but I’m already working to establish a transitional team and advisory group,” she said.

Current mayor John Robert Smith will serve in his position until June 30, with his successor taking office on July 1. Inauguration ceremonies for the new mayor will be held July 2 at the Temple Theater.
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