End of an era: Middleton leaves 20-year family tradition legacyPublished 12:09am Friday, June 29, 2012
NATCHEZ — Public service to Natchez is a Middleton family tradition, and outgoing Mayor Jake Middleton said he is proud to have carried on his family’s tradition for the past 20 years.
Middleton’ father, John W. Middleton Sr., served as Ward 6 Alderman. When his father died, Middleton’s mother, Peggy, was appointed to serve in his place. Middleton’s brother Tom served as alderman of Ward 5.
Middleton’s brother Fred served in several civic organizations, including as the president of the Natchez Jaycees, the Natchez Lion’s Club and the chamber of commerce.
“It’s in our blood,” Middleton said. “I think it shows a dedication to our city and a love of our city. You have to have the willingness to go out there and do the job.”
It all started, Middleton said, with his grandmother Lily Middleton.
“My grandmother was very involved in politics,” Middleton said. “She never ran for office, but she was a key player in a lot of former politicians campaigns.”
Middleton said growing up around politics rubbed off on him at an early age.
“When you grow up around and see what goes on, you can’t help but be attracted to it,” he said. “My dad was a great alderman, and my mom was, too, and they inspired me.”
Middleton was elected as Ward 6 alderman in 1992 and served as alderman until he was elected mayor in 2008.
Middleton, who ends his service to the city this weekend, said he is proud he has helped get recreation to the point it is at right now and wants to see it move forward quickly.
He said he is also happy to have been part of the recent surge of the economic development and building the Natchez Convention Center.
“I have no regrets,” Middleton said. “I would do it all over again.
Middleton was also inducted into the Mississippi Municipal League’s Hall of Fame this week.
Middleton said no one in his family ever did public service for a pat on the back.
“We did it for our love of Natchez and to make the city the best it could be,” he said.
But Natchez may have not seen the last of the Middleton family in local politics.
“We’ve got a few youngsters coming along that may be interested in a political career someday, my son included, not right now, but maybe someday,” Middleton said.
Middleton said he hopes people will remember him as a mayor who helped get Natchez back on its feet.
“I hope they remember me as a mayor who came in under the worse economic times since the Great Depression and helped get the city on its feet and moving in the right direction.”
Middleton said he has had fun serving, but he said he is looking forward to spending time with his wife, Mitzi, and the rest of his family.
“I have four beautiful grandchildren, and I’m looking forward to spending some time at the lake with them and going to ballgames and getting some real family time,” he said.
Middleton said he wanted to thank the people of Natchez for allowing him to serve them for 20 years.
“I’ve enjoyed my 20 years, and I wish the City of Natchez the best, because I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be here watching.”