Political candidates stump in Vicksburg

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Governor Phil Bryant speaks Tuesday evening during a candidate forum for the Warren County Republican Committee at City Auditorium. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Governor Phil Bryant speaks Tuesday evening during a candidate forum for the Warren County Republican Committee at City Auditorium. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Candidates running for office in both the Republican and Democratic primary spoke to the public Tuesday night in two separate forums.

The Warren County Republican Committee hosted state and local Republican candidates at the Vicksburg Auditorium. The Vicksburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the First Mississippi Chapter of Blacks In Government and the Vicksburg Branch of the NAACP hosted a question and answer style forum for state and local candidates in the circuit courtroom at the Warren County Courthouse. Both events kicked off at 6 p.m.

At Vicksburg Auditorium, Governor Phil Bryant made an early speech at 5:30 p.m. before rushing off to another engagement. At 6 p.m. 10 state candidates began giving their three-minute introduction of themselves and their platforms. Then at 7 p.m. the 12 local candidates did the same.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Many contenders had tables set up around the auditorium floor with campaign signs and memorabilia.

“This is a prime time for them to get their word out,” Eric Biedenharn, chairman of the local republican executive committee, said.

At the courthouse, candidates were given a one-minute introduction and then took questions from the audience. Audience members of the nearly full courtroom were asked to write down a question that was then passed down to the members of Delta Sigma Theta who vetted which ones were asked.

“Those people that have not made up their mind who to vote for are given a better understanding of the candidates and their different positions,” President of the First Mississippi Chapter of Blacks In Government Arnold Taylor said.

Mario Jones came to the forum after reading about it in the paper because he said that Delta Sigma Theta does a good job of getting information to the community. He wanted to get a sense of what each candidate stood for and what ideas they had for the state and the county. He was impressed with the candidates and the way the forum was handled.

“They were very respectful of each other’s ideas,” Jones said.

The state flag and a new jail were the main topics up for debate at the forum, but teacher pay raises and floodwaters were also discussed.

“The priority right now, with what’s going on with the nation, is the flag, the second priority, because it effects the local, is the jail because they understand they got to pay for the jail,” president of the Vicksburg Branch of the NAACP John Shorter said.

Chris Collins attended the republican event because he is interested in politics, especially locally. A big topic for the Republicans was money and the amount the party has been able to save compared to the states that surround Mississippi. Some candidates said the state is in a surplus.

“It was interesting to hear some of the facts that the statewide candidates were able to share with us as far as some of the moneys that have been recovered and or saved, if you will, by the state offices,” Collins said.

The republicans also held a raffle at the night’s event. They raised enough money to cover the expenses of the event and the rest of the money earned will go to getting people involved with the local party.

“Hopefully we have enough extra money we can put on some programs to try to get the young people out and involved,” David Gibson, Vicksburg chairman of the Republican executive committee, said.

Delta Sigma Theta Vicksburg Alumnae Chapter President Bobbie Bingham Morrow noted the number of candidates running in the primary makes it difficult to know what each candidate is offering to the community.

“Often times, we don’t really know anything about the people that we’re voting for, for office,” she said. “This is an opportunity for individuals to get to know the people who are to serve them and to help them to grow a good economy, to have a good quality of life in their community.”

Morrow was disappointed both forums were held on the same night and at the same time. She wished the public could have gotten to hear from both sides.

“I would really have loved to have gone to the other forum so I could hear what those candidates had to say,” Morrow said.

Delta Sigma Theta will host another forum before the general election.