Congressman seeks new office space in Natchez

Published 1:18 pm Thursday, March 23, 2023

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NATCHEZ — U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, accomplished more in his Natchez visit last month than simply making a Black History Month presentation.

Before speaking at New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church on a Sunday morning in February, Natchez Adams School District Vice Present Philip West said he and the congressman got up at 6 a.m. to tour various NASD facilities that could provide a Natchez-based office for Thompson, who represents the 2nd District.

The Natchez Adams School District Board of Trustees adopted a resolution Tuesday to provide a short-term lease of just over 1,200 square feet of space at the former Natchez Freshman Academy for Thompson’s new office.

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“This extends his geographic territory and makes it more convenient for people in this four-county area to connect with him,” West said. “I’m the one who arranged for him to look at our facilities around the area. I took him by Frazier and then by what used to be the Freshman Academy.”

The office would serve constituents from Adams, Jefferson, Wilkinson and Franklin counties, West said. Thompson has other office locations throughout Mississippi located in Mound, Marks, Greenville, Greenwood, Jackson and Bolton.

“It’s going to help tremendously,” West said. “It gives us a better opportunity for the whole community to connect with him about the various things we’re doing and makes things better for our area.”

School Board Attorney Bruce Kuehnle said the lease could not exceed the length of Thompson’s term as a congressman. Kuehnle suggested leasing the space for $500 a month; however, the lease is subject to be changed by Thompson’s council before final approval.

Before a lease is adopted by the board, Kuehnle said a resolution is “statutorily necessary” to enter a lease without a competitive bid process.

“I want you all to know he’s a really hard-working man on a Sunday morning,” West said, adding, “It’s been 30 to 40 years since we had a congressperson’s office in Adams County. We can go right down the street if we need help with something and ask for it.”