OUR OPINION: If you want to make a change, the time is now

Published 8:00 am Friday, January 6, 2023

The qualifying period for state and county elections is open now — could this be your chance to run for office and make a change in the community?

There are so many issues at stake at the local and state level, and it might be time for some new blood at the capitol, or even just at the courthouse.

At the state level, we’re facing conversations (and hopefully action) about topics ranging from Medicaid expansion to the dwindling numbers of rural hospitals to education and income taxes. Mississippi has the highest incarceration rate in the country — what needs to be done to both limit the number of people in prisons and help rehabilitate and release prisoners back into society?

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At the county level, we’re examining incarceration on a comparatively smaller scale. There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to the construction of a new jail. With that comes questions of funding, staffing and maintaining a new county building, and thus expanding our sheriff’s office’s reach.

It’s a process the current group of county leaders has set in motion over the current term; one that will continue with this board or with a new board.

A local issue we’re constantly watching is the expansion of the Port of Vicksburg at the site off of U.S. 61 South. Thanks to leaders in our community and at the state level, this ambitious project gets closer and closer to becoming reality each time it’s mentioned.

While there’s still a long way to go, the benefits of the port expansion project far outweigh the negatives in terms of increasing job availability, increasing the per capita income in our area, increasing revenue and overall providing an unparalleled economic stimulus to the Warren County area.

The next four years will also bring a new frontier for Mississippians, as medical marijuana will soon become widely available. There are five dispensaries in Warren County that area registered with the Mississippi Department of Revenue — how will our leaders approach the manufacture, sale and taxation of a substance that, up until recently, was considered an illegal drug in all forms?

Maybe you’re satisfied with the state of state and county politics; maybe you’re lobbying for a change.

Either way, you’ve got from now until Feb. 1 to decide: Do you want to be part of the problem or part of the solution?