Leyens built it, but now it’s time for a diplomat

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 31, 2009

Laurence Leyens has been mayor of Vicksburg since 2001. The infrastructure that was put in place downtown: the brick pavement, nice lampposts, wireless Internet and planter boxes, are some of the things which attracted me to Vicksburg. All this was done at his direction. I think that the urban renewal plan was the right plan to lay the groundwork for outside investment to our city.

Now that the infrastructure is in place, we need a leader who can bring the outside investors and developers to our community, a leader who can work together with the property owners, business owners and the community to motivate them to build new businesses and repair old properties.

 Leyens is quoted on his Web site, “The consensus in Vicksburg may well be, ‘I don’t like the mayor personally.’” He is right and many agree. However a leader cannot be effective if not liked or respected.

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Vicksburg is ready for new leadership! Now is the time for a diplomat. A person who is professional, polished and accomplished. A leader who will listen to the needs of the developers, business and property owners, and excite the community by encouragement. Someone who can coordinate the strengths and ideas of others for the common purpose of growing our community and raising our tax base.

Private industry must take over to supply the increase in tax revenue to maintain the infrastructure. There have been few outside investors to Vicksburg since Laurence took office in 2001. Some potential investors have stated to me that it was their interaction with Laurence Leyens that deterred them. I know the old saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” And although the current administration does not appear broken, it is.  A drive through town looking at all the empty dilapidated buildings with Laurence Leyens posters in them is solid evidence.  Yes, “results” can be seen in the tax dollars that were spent to build a terrific infrastructure, but we must have investors put shops and businesses in these buildings for those “results” to last.

I support the election of Paul Winfield as mayor of Vicksburg. This is about a difference between the two candidates on where the city should go from here and the type of leadership I feel we need. Now it is time to elect a leader who can build on that vision through diplomacy. Paul Winfield is that leader.

Robert Ware

The Ware House


Look at the improvements

I do not live within the city limits of Vicksburg, but I do take pride in showing our city to visitors and friends.

During the past eight years of Mayor Leyens’ leadership there have many wonderful improvements and changes within the City of Vicksburg. Just to mention a few: Catfish Row and the water park, the clean-up of vacant lots and abandoned buildings, replacing unsafe sidewalks, resurfacing of streets, the elimination of unneeded traffic lights and beautification of intersections and streets. Downtown, Washington Street has additional convenient parking, music and decorative lights. You can see people up and down the street enjoying themselves. These changes always bring remarks and compliments from my visitors and friends. I hope that the voters will support Mayor Leyens and give him the responsibility to continue to lead the City of Vicksburg forward.

A leader is never going to please all of the people; but people of Vicksburg, please open your eyes and look at the improvements that have been made and how great our city is.

Charles Lestage


Best mayor since 1922

I was born on March 12, 1922. I have experienced many mayors during my lifetime, from the days of J.C. Hamilton, Pat Kelly, Frank Garvey until today. I have seen many trials and tribulations experienced by numerous mayors.

I don’t know Paul Winfield personally. I am certain he is a good attorney and appears to have smarts. Frankly, I’ll stick with Mayor Leyens.

I have known him all his life, from when he was a youngster when we were neighbors, and I have followed his career with great scrutiny. It’s my opinion that he’s the best mayor we’ve ever had, even if he has the worst personality of any mayor we’ve ever had.

This is not a personality contest, but a contest of who will better serve Vicksburg for four more years.

Mayor Leyens hangs his linen out daily for us voters to see what’s going on in the city, even on TV. Police Chief Tommy Moffett also lets us know what’s going on with a daily listing of crime reports.

Before Leyens and the two aldermen brought Moffett here as chief, I remember how sad the police department was. There were more officers with stripes than without. If you called the police department for an officer to solve a problem, it was disgusting how long it took to get a response. Today it is different.

The eye of cold reality is staring us in the face. I have seen more than 16 mayors elected, and, with the problems a mayor of the City of Vicksburg has to contend with, I’ll gladly stick with this one for four more years.

George M. Mitchell


Leyens stood up for retirees

We represent the older retired firemen and policemen of the City of Vicksburg. Many of these men and women retired with less than $200 per month retirement pay, with no allowance for a cost-of-living adjustment.

Mayor Laurence Leyens took the time and effort to correct this injustice and passed a resolution from the City of Vicksburg for these retirees to finally receive a cost-of-living adjustment so they could have a decent quality of life.

We also want to commend the current administration in all its efforts to bring the police department and the fire department up to the highest of standards.

We want to encourage everyone, but especially the senior citizens, to consider the positive results that we have enjoyed during this administration.

Mayor Leyens stood up for the forgotten retired firemen and policemen and understands the needs of our senior citizens. We encourage everyone to vote on Tuesday and ask that you vote for proven results by casting your vote for Mayor Leyens.

Sara Grant Nelson

Bettie Parker