Do we really need expensive lobbyists?

Published 7:19 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen and the Adams County Board of Supervisors are considering pooling their resources to hire a lobbying firm to help secure federal and state grants and tax dollars to help fund governmental projects in Natchez and Adams County.

That proposal comes at what we think is a steep price of approximately $7,500 per month for the remainder of this year and then increasing to $10,000 per month at the first of next year with the cost to be split evenly between the board of aldermen and the board of supervisors.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said the proposal is to hire the firm of former third district U.S. Rep. Gregg Harper.

During discussion of the proposal in last week’s supervisors meeting, most supervisors agreed that Harper had always been helpful in securing funding for the county when he was in office in Washington, D.C.

That begs the question, are our current representatives not being helpful? Are our local supervisors and aldermen actively communicating our needs to our elected representatives in Washington and Jackson?

Gibson ran for mayor partially on his connections in Jackson and Washington built during his lengthy career as a lobbyist.

Have we actually reached a time where we need to hire a lobbying firm to lobby our own elected representatives in state and national government in order to earn projects and grant funds?

Does the contract include language that ensures the expense the city and county pay will be worth the return on the investment? Have we looked at other lobbying firms in addition to Harper’s?

It seems a shame to us that our city and county officials feel the need to hire a lobbyist to get our area’s fair share of federal and state dollars.