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Welcome to 2020, a municipal election year

Welcome to 2020 — a new year, a new decade and a municipal election year.

The race is on, too, for at least a couple of city offices.

Local businessman, bed and breakfast owner Dan Gibson had previously qualified to run for Mayor of Natchez, and now Natchez Adams School District Public Relations Specialist Tony Fields has thrown his hat into the ring for mayor as well.

Both men are running as Democrats.

Fields also made a run for mayor in 2016 but lost out to Darryl Grennell in the primaries. Grennell went on the beat independent candidate Eric Junkin in the 2016 general election. Grennell, announced last month that he will not seek a second term as mayor.

Gibson is a lobbyist in Jackson, owns a bed and breakfast in Natches and has served as a mayor of Crystal Springs in the past.

Clearly, we have a couple of good candidates in the race for mayor already, but the qualifying period is open until Feb. 7, and I have little doubt several other potential candidates are weighing the options of throwing their hats into the ring.

As of Monday every incumbent alderman, with the exception of Ward 3 Alderwoman Sarah Carter Smith, had qualified to run for reelection.

It will be interesting to see if Carter plans to run for reelection.

Also, longtime Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux Mathis has a challenger in Valencia Hall, and both are running as Democrats.

Public service is a tough job.

Just ask new Adams County Board of Supervisors members Wes Middleton, Kevin Wilson and Warren Gaines, who spent the better part of their first week in office and of the New Year tending to an erosion problem on the dam at Robins Lake Road.

Robins Lake is in Middleton’s district, and he was on the ground days before the rain working to try to curtail any potential problems from the anticipated heavy rains.

Then, last Thursday as approximately 7 inches of rain fell he was on the ground monitoring the situation, concerned about the constituents and residents who live downstream from Robins Lake dam.

Middleton worked with Emergency Management Director Robert Bradford Sr. and Adams County Road crewmembers to minimize the damage and got state dam inspectors out to assess the problem.

He also worked to get pumps to the site to lower the level of the lake.

Middleton, along with Wilson and Gaines, got a trial by fire, and they passed. They paid proper attention to the situation and perhaps helped head off a catastrophe.

Now their work continues in trying to properly repair the site to avoid any more potential problems the site that routinely faces due to bad culverts.

That is just one example of the work dedicated public servants must put in. That is the job and anyone who considers throwing his or her hats into the ring must be prepared for that level of work.

Candidates also must be prepared to answer to the citizens who have entrusted them with the important positions and maintain a level of transparency in conducting their business.

I have much respect and admiration for public servants who are committed to making their communities better and to helping resolve problems.

That is what local government is all about — resolving problems and making the community the best it can be. Good results don’t come without a considerable amount of blood, sweat and tears.

We’ll keep our eyes on the candidates this election season and keep you posted on the latest candidates to file and where they stand on the issues.

Best of luck, all, and may the best candidates win.

Scott Hawkins is the editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.

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