Speak now or forever hold your gripingPublished 12:21am Sunday, April 1, 2012
And they’re off! With the close of the qualification period Saturday, all the players are set in the Natchez municipal races.
At least, that is, until word is received from the federal government about whether or not the city’s redistricting plans will be approved.
For now, however, the city elections are full-speed ahead.
Unaffected by potential redistricting issues, the race for the Natchez mayor’s seat should go off without a hitch.
Five people have thrown their hats into the ring to be the next Natchez mayor.
Personally, all five must suffer from some mental illness. I cannot imagine wanting to be mayor, particularly in Natchez’s strong board, weak mayor system of government.
But I digress.
What is it, exactly, that Natchez citizens are seeking from their next mayor?
If you were mayor of Natchez, what would you do on your first day in office?
Could you name your top three campaign initiatives?
What would you say to convince undecided voters that you’re the best person for the job?
Well, you have a great chance to consider that and sum up the candidates.
Monday evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m., voters will get their first good, side-by-side look at the candidates seeking to be Natchez mayor.
That’s when the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its mayoral candidates forum.
The event will be at the Natchez Convention Center on the corner of Main and Canal streets.
Having been in the audience to a number of such candidates’ forums in the past, the mood of these events can run the gamut.
Some are akin to watching paint dry, as candidates offer no surprises, instead choosing to only talk about their predictable plans.
Others can be much more interesting when candidates are put on the spot — either by a question or, perhaps, by their challenger.
How Monday’s mayoral forum will go is anyone’s guess.
But even in the most exciting of the forums, the most disappointing thing is always the small number of voters who take advantage of the opportunity to see and hear from the candidates.
The forums are not only a great way to hear what the candidates want to say to you, the forums are also interactive.
If you’ve ever wanted to express your thoughts on something about city government or how you think the city should be run, now is the time to communicate your thoughts.
You have a chance to ask each mayoral candidate their opinions about issues facing the city.
If you don’t have any direct questions, all you have to do is show up and listen.
For those of you with questions, submitting a question is easy. Just send your questions to me and I’ll forward to the chamber.
Simple enough, huh?
Forums in political races are similar to that point in a wedding in which the pastor says, “Speak now or forever hold your peace.”
If you don’t get involved and ask questions of the candidates and get information now, you have no right to complain later.
Find out your answers now or forever hold your gripes.
Thanks to the folks at the chamber for organizing the forum. Hopefully, residents will pack the convention center Monday night.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.