Aldermen candidates respond to survey from The Vicksburg Post ahead of June 8 election
Published 10:45 pm Friday, June 4, 2021
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen play a key role in Vicksburg’s economic development, and the candidates in Vicksburg’s municipal elections have their own thoughts on how to maintain forward progress in Warren County’s only municipality.
The Vicksburg Post recently invited the candidates competing in the June 8 municipal elections to respond to five questions, with topics ranging from crime management to education to economic development.
All three mayoral candidates, incumbent Mayor George Flaggs, Jr., Daryl Hollingsworth (both independents) and Troy Kimble, Democrat, responded. Incumbent South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, Republican, responded, as did Incumbent North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield.
South Ward alderman candidate Vickie Bailey, Democrat, did not submit her responses by the June 4 deadline.
Editor’s note: This post features only the responses from North and South Ward aldermen candidates in the 2021 general election. Click here to view the responses from candidates for mayor of Vicksburg.
1) What are your thoughts on the forward progress of Vicksburg?
Incumbent North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield: In my opinion, Vicksburg has continually grown and flourished, I am proud of our great city. Employment rates are up despite COVID’s impact a year ago. I will continue to work diligently with the Board to ensure our city’s progressive movement forward.
South Ward Alderman Candidate Alex Monsour: Under the current Board of Mayor and Aldermen, Vicksburg has seen more job growth and investment into our city than any other time in recent history. Our downtown is booming. Real estate sales and rentals are at an all-time high. We have more jobs available than ever. Optimism for our city is at an all-time high.
2) What do you believe is the root of the issue in terms of violent crime in Vicksburg, and how do you plan to address it?
Mayfield: It is my personal opinion that violent crimes will take a downward turn if the spiritual component of crime is addressed. With that being said, I am a firm believer that God is God and His Word is truth. The hearts of men must be changed first. Our officers do a spectacular job with responding to the crimes reported and I commend them and their hard work and efforts. Addressing the crime moving forward, I will work with the Board in support of our Vicksburg Police Department and their needs to keep our community safe.
Monsour: I believe it is a combination of several things: 1. As parents, we need to be more involved in our children’s day-to-day activities in order to protect them from outside influences or harm. 2. As city leaders, we have to make sure we hire/retain the best personnel possible and also have to be competitive with the pay structure so that we can hire/retain the best-qualified officers. We also have to work with our judges so that we can all work towards the same outcome, a safe and secure city.
3) What plans do you have to support Vicksburg’s education system and promote the wellbeing of our children?
Mayfield: I will continue to support our youth in the limited capacity of authority the Board has as it relates to our education system. The new Mississippi Information and Technology Center is one of the many ways to help our education system. We as a Board will continue to recognize and praise our youth’s accomplishments and success. Our youth are the city’s future and they need to know that we are here to support them in any way we can.
Monsour: The city has seen more investment than ever into education. As the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, we have to be supportive of the progress implemented by the Superintendent and Board, but we also have to continue to educate the public on the importance of being involved in our children’s education. As a parent, I have always talked to my children and kept up with the progress of their assignments and grades to ensure success at each stage.
4) How would you promote the Mississippi Information and Technology Center, which is currently underway, and ensure its economic infusion to Downtown Vicksburg?
Mayfield: I am very excited to see the new Information and Technology Center up and running. I believe this center is going to put us on a level playing field with our neighboring cities in this state. Technology is the future and we need to support technological advancement in our city. I would not only like to see its economic infusion to Downtown Vicksburg but its infusion to all of Vicksburg.
Monsour: The current Board of Mayor and Aldermen have been involved and are a major supporter of the Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology (MCITy). We understand the importance of education and what it will mean for our city to have the presence of five different universities and the ability to get an undergraduate degree here in Vicksburg.
5) How would you develop infrastructure to meet the needs of The Port of Vicksburg and its proposed expansion? Please be specific about how you would finance any upgrades.
Mayfield: Over the years the city has faced infrastructure improvement needs. Our infrastructure is over 100 years old. The city has initiated several projects to improve infrastructure including the 592 Project. The city also hired an engineering firm to address our underground issues. We discovered issues and have started making said improvements. We will continue to work diligently as a board to make improvements, which will in turn aid The Port of Vicksburg’s infrastructure project.
Monsour: As the former Chairman of Ports, Harbors and Airports in the Mississippi House of Representatives, I fully understand the process of maintaining and expanding our port. Under the current Board of Mayor and Aldermen, we have already hired the proper consultants and engineers to assess the infrastructure and finances necessary for this expansion. We are actively working with our state and federal elected officials to secure the proper funding. We are optimistic that the Infrastructure bill currently working its way through the process in DC will include the port expansion project. The process can be lengthy, but two of the three current Board of Mayor and Aldermen members have either served with or worked directly with the current state and federal elected officials. These established relationships will help to expedite the process considerably. The expansion of our port could mean hundreds of high-paying jobs for Vicksburg.