Hamlin’s career changes from the pulpit to politicsBy NIKKI ROWELL,
When Ridgeland Alderman Wes Hamlin was in college and imagined what his future might be like, he saw himself in the pulpit, not in politics.
However, over the years, Hamlin saw a shift in his career choice, partly thanks to his circumstances and the influence of family members. He went on to become Ridgeland’s youngest alderman.
Hamlin was born and raised in the Jackson area. While attending school at Mississippi College, he got a call from Church of the Highlands in Ridgeland to come and be the youth pastor back when the church was getting started.
“Once I got up here, I have lived here ever since,” Hamlin said of his move to Ridgeland.
He earned his degree in Christian studies from Mississippi College, and then in ’05 he moved to New Orleans for seminary.
“Then, Hurricane Katrina hit, and I lost everything,” Hamlin said. “Because the seminary was located near the ninth ward and it just flooded. My dorm was on first floor. So, I moved back to Ridgeland and started over.”
He still attends the Church of the Highlands, but Hamlin’s goal at that time was to become a pastor.
He was married in ’07, and when his wife left, she took with her his chance of holding leadership in the church.
It was during this time that Linda Davis, the former Ward 6 alderman, reached out to him when she decided not to run for reelection.
“She called one day out of the blue,” he said. “I thought, well this is my chance. After I got elected, I found out I was the youngest alderman Ridgeland has ever had. And now I’ve been doing this for 10 years.”
Around this time is when Hamlin and his brother began their business, Preferred Linen.
His brother was a route driver for a linen service for years. When the company closed its doors, he and his brother opened a similar business thanks to his brother’s connections from his time as a route driver.
“I looked at that as an answer to my prayers,” Hamlin said of the new opportunities. “I immediately started campaigning and it got my mind focused in a different direction. It opened up a new avenue for new friends. I have a heart for the city and wanted to be a part in moving it forward in the future. The opportunity came at the right time.”
Hamlin said those few years were a rollercoaster emotionally, but what came after was an answer to his prayers.
He grew up with an interest in politics, thanks to two of his uncles.
“My uncle, John Reeves, was in the state house for like 24 years,” he said. “So, growing up, when I was in junior high and high school, I would help him with his campaigns. He was the representative in the south Jackson area, and I would go door-to-door and help out with his campaigns.”
This is what first fostered Hamlin’s interest in government and politics, and it is also what made him jump at the chance when Davis called.
“I always said, if I ever see an opening in government, I might do it,” he said.
He had another uncle who made an impact on his decision to pursue an elected position.
“He was a big influence on me too,” he said. “He was never in an elected position, but he was head of the Tea Party when it first started. He always encouraged me to run and was really a big influence.”
After his uncle’s death, Hamlin considered leaving his position.
“It was dirty, dirty politics,” he said. “After he committed suicide, I actually just thought about getting out. It affected me a lot. But I decided to stay with it, because I enjoy it, and I love the city of Ridgeland. I feel like I’m carrying on his legacy in a way.”
Hamlin said the biggest issue he has been a part of since he has been elected has been the Costco debate.
“What I am most proud of is this whole Costco thing,” he said. “It’s so crucial to the city of Ridgeland. With all the pressure and negativity that came along with it, it would have been easier to go against it. But I was elected to make decisions that are good for the city of Ridgeland.”
Hamlin lives in Ridgeland with his wife Samantha and son Kayden.