Where’s Flaggs going next? Nowhere anytime soon
Published 6:29 pm Friday, November 22, 2019
If there’s something to be thankful for this year, it’s that the state and local election cycle is behind us. All that is left now is hirings, appointments and lame-duck decisions that are made in the final days of any legislative body.
The final few weeks will be interesting to see who remains in appointed posts, those who are replaced and those graciously asked to move on to other opportunities.
One of the more persistent rumors — not just over the past year — but for far longer is the future of Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr.
In March 2018, Flaggs, who had served his entire political career as a Democrat, announced he was no longer a Democrat, instead listing himself as an Independent.
“What that will allow me to do is be more effective in representing Democrats and Republicans in the future, and if I determine to run for re-election, I’ll only have to run in the general election and I won’t have to run in the primaries anymore,” Flaggs said at the time. “Politics is flexible, and you have to be ahead of the curve. And you want to be successful, and I have every intention of representing Vicksburg in the way I can be the most effective.”
The news of Flaggs’ switch came just hours before then U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, a Republican, was resigning his seat for health reasons.
The rumors swirled. Was Flaggs setting up a run for the Senate seat? No one knew. Flaggs knew. He wasn’t.
In the same story that announced he was no longer a Democrat, Flaggs indicated an interest in “possibly” running for lieutenant governor as an Independent.
The rumors again swirled. Was Flaggs going to run for lieutenant governor, setting up a battle by then-Secretary of State and Vicksburg native Delbert Hosemann? No one knew. Flaggs knew. He wasn’t.
In fact, Flaggs later appeared in television ads supporting Hosemann’s eventual successful bid.
Since then, Flaggs has made several trips to Washington D.C. to court federal monies for Vicksburg and placed the city at the forefront of the development and growth of the economic stimulus program, Opportunity Zones. He has met with President Trump, given speeches at the president’s side and been photographed at head tables of meetings at the White House with the president and cabinet secretaries.
Then, during this past election cycle, Flaggs was an ardent supporter of Gov.-elect Tate Reeves and his campaign for the governor’s mansion. Flaggs served on the campaign finance committee for his campaign and has since been invited to work on the transition team for Reeves.
He has also been asked to serve on the transition teams for Attorney General-elect Lynn Fitch and Central Transportation Commissioner-elect Willie Simmons, both of whom he also supported during the campaign.
All of this has led to even more rumors that Flaggs would be appointed to lead a state agency under a Reeves’ administration.
Is he leaving Vicksburg and heading to Jackson. No one really knows. Flaggs knows.
But while there are rumors of Flaggs’ political aspirations, his leanings and his posturing with those in higher elected office, there is really no doubt in my mind — and those of many others — that Vicksburg’s mayor is not going anywhere. He has too much left to be done.
Moving back to a role in state government makes little sense if you consider the pay for an agency head is little more than he is earning now, plus it comes with the headache of traveling to Jackson each morning and dealing with the Legislature on a regular basis. Having served many years in the House of Representatives, he’s been there, done that.
In Vicksburg, he has established himself as someone driven to efficiency in government and addressed many of the areas he sought out when he was first elected nearly six years go. Yet, there’s more he wants to accomplish.
How do I know? Just look at the programs he has initiated that have yet to be completed. Yes, he’s been able to get the new and thriving sports complex completed, but what remains is the riverfront development, the work on the city’s infrastructure, the expansion of city services south of town, the expansion of the existing port or the creation of a new port and the completion of the massive Mississippi Hardware project.
These are not projects that are thought up at a whim, nor completed in day. These are long-term projects that take strong leadership and focus. Both of which Flaggs has brought and continues to bring.
Yes, there have been missteps and people who are not pleased with some of his tactics while at city hall. But, those detractors and missteps are normal and expected.
So let the rumors swirl, they’re good for business. But based on what is planned for Vicksburg and the leadership needed to get those plans to reality, it would be a very good bet that George Flaggs Jr. isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Tim Reeves is editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.