Mayoral candidates talk about leadership posts

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; In interviews this week, Natchez’s three mayoral candidates said they’ve demonstrated the leadership abilities it takes to be the city’s next top elected official.

State Rep. Phillip West pointed out several leadership roles he’s held in the past 30 years.

&uot;It shows I’ve had the ability to lead ever since I was a younger person,&uot; West said.

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Such roles, he added, &uot;have thoroughly prepared me for this positions. I’ve gained the experience, knowledge and information to work with people at all levels.&uot;

Those roles include:

4Two years as president of the Adams County Board of Supervisors.

4Two years as president of the Mississippi House of Representatives’ Black Caucus.

4Six years as president of the Adams County chapter of the NAACP and two years as vice president of the state chapter.

4Two years as chairman of the board of the Boys and Girls Club of the Miss-Lou, which he helped found.

4Four years as chairman of the Adams County Democratic Party.

4Chairman emeritus and a founder of the Sadie V. Thompson Era Reunion.

4One year as chairman of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors’ Minority Caucus.

4President of the Natchez High School PTA.

4Currently, vice chairman of the House of Representatives’ County Affairs Committee.

Working on the board of the Boys and Girls Club and in the local Democratic Party, West said, have given him plenty of experience in working people of all races and backgrounds.

Sue Stedman said that her eight years as alderwoman in Ward 3, she gained valuable experience in learning how to work with other officials across ward lines to get the most done for her ward and Natchez as a whole.

&uot;As an alderman, leadership comes in many forms,&uot; Stedman said.

&uot;A lot of times, Š it comes it working as a team and knowing there are going to be issues you have to compromise on in order to accomplish Š in order for the common good.&uot;

It takes leadership, she said, to &uot;sell&uot; another alderman &045; much less three other aldermen &045; on the value of a project in your ward in order to secure their votes.

Stedman said she has called other aldermen individually on many Ward 3 projects to answer their questions and gain their support.

Those projects have included Natural Resource Conservation Service projects &045; the grants for which require a match from the city and, therefore, a vote of the board.

&uot;And when we resurfaced streets several years ago &045; there were some aldermen that had some extra (road) funds,&uot; Stedman said.

&uot;I was successful in getting them to give me some of their money so I could do a little more in my ward. That allowed me to cover some areas that otherwise I would not have been able to cover.&uot;

Richard Branyan said that while he hasn’t held public office before, he has held other leadership roles, including serving on the Natchez Music Festival Board of Directors.

Branyan also said he has been active in the Natchez Rotary Club and, in the past, with the Antique Row Dealers Association.