Meet the candidates: Mayfield, Hollingsworth vie for alderman seat in Thursday’s runoff

Published 1:35 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Thomas “T.J.” Mayfield and Daryl Hollingsworth were the final candidates standing from a field of 10 contending for Vicksburg’s vacant Ward 1 alderman seat during the May 9 primary. Ahead of Thursday’s runoff election, The Vicksburg Post asked each candidate a series of questions to help voters better understand their respective platforms.

What are your reasons for seeking this office and why should voters elect you?

Mayfield: I am seeking this office because I care about the people of the city of Vicksburg. Vicksburg needs a young leader who is accessible, dedicated, and progressive while also being willing to make hard decisions to move the city forward. The voters should vote for me because I have a strong resume of community service, leadership, and relationship-building with the people in this community. I am also seeking this office to provide a voice to the people and the communities who feel forgotten about. I have met with people all over this great city and although I have pledged not to make many promises on this campaign, I can promise everyone that I will provide fair and honest government to everyone in Ward 1. 

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Hollingsworth: I have invested my time and money into Ward 1. And I’m tired of watching it decline. Ward 1 has the most businesses and the most industry. So why are we not helping our citizens? While walking Ward 1 and knocking on 2,000 doors, I was appalled at how many boarded up houses are in Ward 1 (hundreds). Proof to our shrinking population. This should be our solution to affordable housing, but no one sees it because they are sitting in an office somewhere collecting a check. As your Ward 1 alderman, I will seek out solutions to our problems. I will listen to you. I am very approachable and will be accessible to the public. It’s time to put the city back to work for the people.

If elected, would you keep moving in the same direction as your predecessor, or change course?

Mayfiled: I will work diligently to move the ward forward in any way possible. I plan to work to bring in more grant dollars to rebuild the infrastructure and create youth development programs for the city. As a former educator, I firmly believe in providing as many opportunities for our youth as possible, with the hopes of lowering our crime rate. The previous office holder did a great job connecting with people and I want to ensure that I keep the policy of putting people first at the top of my list.

Hollingsworth: Absolutely not. The city government doesn’t seem to offer citizens representation for what we are paying for as taxpayers. Our population has continued to decline and we must change course immediately if our city is going to thrive.

How would you address transparency and accountability in this office? 

Mayfield: I would address transparency in office by having an open-door policy for all citizens and city workers. I will be open to speaking at churches, social clubs and organizations, and with any neighborhood associations. I plan to schedule walk-throughs and visit communities to see the problem firsthand in as many neighborhoods as possible. I will also make myself available for podcast and radio interviews.

Hollingsworth: That is a part of the problem. Agenda items are hidden from the majority of the public. Our board of aldermen and mayor have kept the public in the dark as our tax base slowly shrinks around us. I would have more discussion about agenda items and be accessible to the public.

What are the most pressing issues in this office and how would you address them?

Mayfield: The most pressing issues in Ward 1 include the lack of youth development opportunities, low-wage earning jobs, crumbling infrastructure, and community safety. We must create opportunities for our youth that allow them to see hope in Vicksburg. We have lost population in drastic numbers over the years. We must rebuild while keeping our children in mind and providing them with athletic, academic, and arts opportunities to help shape their future. Vicksburg is missing a vital opportunity to offer higher wage-earning jobs especially with our community having access to air, rail, water, and Interstate transportation and commerce. We must ensure that we have our infrastructure: housing codes, roads, bridges, and broadband connectivity up to standard to ensure everyone in our community has access to resources to move the community forward. Regarding safety in the community, I strongly support creating or bolstering our neighborhood watch associations in addition to pay raises for all of our first responders and police officers to offer a competitive salary countering our neighboring communities. No one who puts their life on the line daily should have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. 

Hollingsworth: Lack of youth programs and crime, which are intertwined with each other.

How would your role in this office improve Vicksburg?

Mayfield: My role as a fundraiser and relationship builder will help move the city forward because I am unafraid of the word “no.” I am a proactive thinker and will work to provide solutions before problems arise. I will leverage my relationships with members of the Mississippi Legislature and various non-profit organizations to work to solve issues in areas such as public works. I plan to always put the people first and ensure that their thoughts and concerns are heard, even if I do not have the votes or power to get it done right away. I can connect with people in our community young and old and everyone will have the opportunity to work with me.

Hollingsworth: My role would be to get out and face our problems head on. Such as I did while campaigning, when asked why our poorer subdivisions couldn’t get “children at play” signs. Something as simple as a phone call and it was corrected. Something the community had been asking for for nine years was solved with a phone call and the very next day corrected. This is the kind of leader you will see.

Please share any family/personal information you’d like to include. 

Mayfield: I am the proud husband to Madalene and proud father of Tahj. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in social science education and a Master’s Degree in workforce leadership from Alcorn State University. 

Hollingsworth: I’m a father and raised my kids in Vicksburg. I’m now watching my grandchildren being raised in Vicksburg as well. We have to do better for our future generations and as your Ward 1 alderman I will work with their future in mind.