Alderwoman Young winds up 12 at City Hall|[7/01/05]

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2005

Gertrude Young has worn many hats – nurse, real estate agent and minister among them – but for the past 12 years the title she preferred was alderwoman.

Young, 49, will hang up one of those hats Monday with the end of her third term representing Vicksburg’s North Ward. Michael Mayfield, 47, will be sworn in as the new North Ward Alderman along with Mayor Laurence Leyens and South Ward Alderman Sid Beauman at a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. at the City Auditorium.

Their terms, the first for Mayfield who has been the Warren County District 2 Supervisor for nine years, and the second for Leyens and Beauman officially start Tuesday, but due to weekend events the swearing-in was moved to today.

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Although Young won’t be on the stage today and she cleared out her office at City Hall weeks ago, she said she’ll still be involved in community projects and won’t rule out a future political career.

“I might come back and run for mayor (in four years),” Young said. “But, you never know what God has in store for you.”

Young was the first woman elected to municipal office in Vicksburg and although technically the charter makes her an alderman, everyone knew to call her alderwoman. In 12 years, Young has served in three administrations with three different mayors and three different South Ward aldermen.

She said that while the last four years with Leyens and Beauman were the most productive of that, the hardest was the first years, with former Mayor Joe Loviza and former South Ward Alderman Don Miller.

“(Mayor Loviza) kept me on my toes,” Young said.

Loviza, who served from 1993 to 1997, said he feels like Young represented the people of the North Ward well during her 12 years.

“She was doing what she thought was right during her time in office and we voted together probably on about 75 percent of the time,” Loviza said.

During that first term, Young was instrumental in the start of the Kings Community Center and in her second term she backed the Jackson Street Community Center and facilitated the construction of a new housing subdivision in Kings.

“I don’t think the public realizes what an asset she has been in terms of her experience and her connections nationwide,” Leyens said. “We’re going to miss her.”

Young has also worked with this last administration on the redevelopment of downtown, landscaping improvements across the city and the cleaning of corridors, including North Washington Street, but she still says her proudest accomplishment of the past decade has been her work with children, including creating a curfew for minors and after-school programs.

Leyens said he plans to remain in contact with Young during the next administration and will look to her for advice on future issues. Young also said she will continue working with the city on many of the projects she started in the past 12 years.

“Now, she’ll just be working for free,” Leyens said.

Young said there are several projects she plans to see through, but it’s the people she will miss the most.

“I’m going to miss my family up here,” Young said. “Because it really is a family. I’ve been with these folks more than my own husband in the last 12 years.”

IF YOU GO

Today’s swearing-in of Laurence Leyens, Sid Beauman and Michael Mayfield will begin at 5:30 at City Auditorium.