Restaurateur Smith to seek South Ward alderman’s seat

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 10, 2000

Vicksburg restaurateur Sam Smith said he plans to run for the open South Ward alderman position in June’s city elections.

Smith, the co-manager of Andre’s at Cedar Grove, said he decided to try for the position when he learned that Sam Habeeb would not be running for a second term.

“The person that replaces (Habeeb) needs to have the same sense of fiscal responsibility that he has,” Smith said. “Somebody has to be a steward for the taxpayers.”

Smith said the city payroll has grown too fast since casinos arrived in Vicksburg in 1993, and residents have not seen enough tangible benefits from the new tax dollars.

The 37-year-old Smith made his first run for public office in 1987, in a failed bid for a state legislative seat.

“I promised I’d never do it again, but I’ve always had a strong sense of civic duty,” he said.

Candidates have until March 31 to qualify for the ballot in the upcoming city elections. Primaries for Vicksburg’s three elective jobs will be May 1, and the general election, on June 5.

Three other candidates have expressed an interest in the South Ward seat. Vickie Bailey, assistant director of the city’s youth services division, and hairstylist Pam Johnson have both said they plan to run. Businessman Travis Wayne Vance has indicated that he might run, but has not announced a decision.

Vance and Bailey were candidates when Habeeb was elected four years ago.