Ward 1 candidates attend forum

Published 11:21 am Saturday, May 4, 2024

Nine of the 10 candidates qualifying to run for Vicksburg’s open Ward 1 alderman seat appeared before voters Thursday in a candidates’ forum organized by local groups.

Candidates who will appear on the ballot in the May 9, special election to replace the late Michael Mayfield Sr. include Gregory E. Bingham, Michel Anthony Gates, Daryl Hollingsworth, Warren Jones, Thomas “T.J.” Mayfield, Bobbie Bingham Morrow, Charles Selmon, Jamma F. Williams, Joseph Everette Williams Jr., and Kevin L. Winters Sr.

During Thursday’s forum, each candidate was given two minutes to present voters with his or her background and platform, prior to a questions and answers session with the audience.

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Gregory E. Bingham

Bingham, who moved to Vicksburg from Virginia and purchased and is restoring the historic Thrift Kain home on Oak Street, spent his time speaking predominantly about the state of homes and neighborhoods in Ward 1.

“My dream is that all citizens in Vicksburg live in nice houses on safe, clean and well-maintained streets, where children can play safely. This, my friends, is not the reality in Ward 1. Most of our neighborhoods are blighted with abandoned or dilapidated houses. The biggest reason is that the city administration has chosen not to enforce building codes. Abandoned, empty houses attract vagrants and drug addicts, all of which make our streets unsafe.”

Michael Anthony Gates

Gates spoke broadly about changes needed in Ward 1, including budgetary issues and a lack of strong leadership.

“The times are changing. We must change. We must fight for what we want. We need somebody to tell us the truth. We have a budget of $34 million in this city and about 30,000 residents. Where’s your million dollars going? Have anyone told you the truth about where your money’s going? We are going to find that money; I’m going to tell you where it’s going.”

Daryl Hollingswirth

Hollingsworth, a local businessman, said he moved to town in the 1980s and sees great potential in the city.

“We need to keep moving Vicksburg forward together as a community. Vicksburg currently faces a consequential issue with its population. The population continues to fall. This makes me ask myself, ‘What does our future hold?’ The population, along with other issues, including lack of youth programs, our current crime rate, and dilapidated and abandoned buildings, should be our main focuses.”

Warren Jones

Jones came to Vickburg in 1989 and said he is running for office to make a difference in the community he calls home. Jones also spoke about maintaining neighborhoods.

“We need to reach out to the residents of the neighborhoods; get their input. We have seen, over the state of Mississippi, cities have been grown from neighborhoods. Infrastructure. Building community and empowering our residents. We’ll create neighborhoods where everyone feels welcome and safe. I am committed to supporting neighborhood associations.”

Thomas “T.J.” Mayfield

Mayfield, son of the late Ward 1 Alderman Mayfield, said he was born and raised in Vicksburg and has returned to town desiring to help improve his late father’s district.

“I am running because I care about the people of Vicksburg. I went to Alcorn State University and I came right back. It takes somebody special to lead in this community and we need a young voice; a fresh point of view, if we want to make changes in this community. I raised over $400,000 in 18 months for Mississippi Kidney Foundation and passed a law that makes it easier to receive a kidney transplant and also worked with representatives and senators from the area with great relationships to move that organization forward.”

Bobbie Bingham Morrow

Morrow graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1975 and said she graduated with honors from HInds Community College and Jackson State University. 

“I have been a stable force in the City of Vicksburg. I came right back here to Vicksburg to serve. And that’s what I want to do. I want to continue to serve the citizens of Vicksburg. I have participated on several of the boards in the City of Vicksburg. I am currently serving as the secretary of the NRoute Transit board. I was one that helped with putting the monument dedicated to the U.S. Colored Troops into the Vicksburg National Military Park. I am committed to the youth in this community, to families in this community and to working with the City of Vicksburg in bringing whatever government can bring to the City of Vicksburg.”

Charles Selmon


Selmon spoke about the importance of pride in one’s community.

“Vicksburg. We should be tired. Sick and tired of not being the number one; always close to the bottom. Not being what we could be. Being what we choose to be. It’s time for Vicksburg to move forward. I’m here to make changes and make changes to enhance the City of Vicksburg. So, if you want the same old Vicksburg, I’m the wrong person.”


Jamma F. Williams

Williams is a graduate of St. Aloysius High School and Jackson State University and has worked in the Vicksburg Warren School District, Vicksburg City Hall under Mayor George Flaggs, and the ERDC.

“As director of constituent services (for the city of Vicksburg) I supervised for the City of Vicksburg’s best need by implementing different plans to better pick up limbs, service the neighborhoods, from anywhere between a garbage can that needed a wheel replaced or a lid replaced to a pothole to a streetlight. You name it, we fixed it. And we tried to do it in a timely manner.” 

Kevin L. Winters Sr.

Winters spoke about issues ranging from job growth to improved housing and said all problems must be addressed by the new alderman.

“I’m not a politician by career, but I know Vicksburg has very high potential. I am aggressive. I’m sound and I think outside of the box. I’m not going to claim to know everything, but I’m not going to give up on our communities. Vicksburg needs to be open for business. Our city has declined in residency, high groceries, rent, mortgage, and then we get low pay. That’s not going to cut it.”

Thursday’s forum was organized and presented by the Vicksburg Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.,the First Mississippi Chapter of Blacks in Government (BIG), the Vicksburg Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Mu Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA), and Omicron Rho Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.