Ward 6 voters go to the polls on Thursday to elect new city alderman

Published 11:19 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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NATCHEZ — The city’s Ward 6 voters head to the polls on Thursday to elect a new aldermen.

Long-time Ward 6 alderman Dan Dillard died unexpectedly on March 29 at his home of natural causes. Because Dillard had more than a year left in his term at the time of his death, state law requires the city hold a special election to allow voters to choose a new alderman.

Ward 6 voters only may cast ballots on Thursday at the Duncan Park Canteen, the only voting place for the election. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

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Two candidates qualified for the Ward 6 seat. They are Curtis Moroney, 60, 208 Winchester, and Chris Jackson, 52, 408 Walnut St.

Chris Jackson

Jackson works at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Natchez and is the lead singer in the band Perry Mason.

“I spent 10 years in the military in the Air Force and led some units there. I came back to Natchez in 1998,” Jackson said. “When Dan Gibson got elected and I saw he was actually trying to make a difference in Natchez, I got interested.”

Jackson said he was a friend of Dillard’s, who a one time encouraged him to run for his seat.

“Dan used to tell me when he retired he wanted me to run for his seat. I told him I am no politician, which he said was good. We don’t need politicians,” he said. “When Dan died, I talked to my mom, Babs Price, about it and said said, ‘Dan believed in you. If you’re ever going to do it, you might as well do it now.’ ”

Jackson said he has been spending his spare time knocking on doors in Ward 6. He said issues important to him include traffic on Auburn Avenue and Orleans Street.

“People are speeding in those neighborhoods. We also have some lights out,” he said. “But the main reason I’m running is to bring people back into the government.

“I served in the military for 10 years and swore to uphold the constitution. I am very critical of government, particularly the federal government. You have politicians running government. You don’t have people any more. I believe in government by the people. I want to give the common man back as much as I can,” Jackson said.

Jackson is the divorced father of four children ranging in age from 26 to 10. However, he said he is not single. His girlfriend is Meredith Hayes.

Although he was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Jackson said his family is from Natchez.

“I love Natchez. I love the community,” he said.

Curtis Moroney

Natchez native Curtis Moroney announced his candidacy for the Ward 6 in mid-April.

“I have been so involved in the community in various events over the years,” Moroney said at the time of his announcement. “Dan and I have been friends for many years. I first met him when he did an internship with my dad when he was in college.”

Moroney is the son of the late Charles Moroney, a well-known Natchez architect. Dillard had a degree in architecture from Mississippi State University.

“I always liked Dan and talked to him often and thought he did a fine job,” Moroney said. “He seemed to have a real common sense approach to things. And he questioned things. Sometimes it’s a good thing to have someone not afraid to question things.

“When Dan died, some folks mentioned it to me and I started thinking about it. I said to myself, ‘OK, somebody’s got to step up and do this. Maybe it’s time. Maybe I need to do it.’ I’ve been involved in lots of things here, but they have all been fun things, like parades and Mardi Gras stuff and balloon festivals and fundraisers. Maybe it’s time to do some of the hard work for Natchez,” he said.

Moroney ran unsuccessfully for the District 37 State Senate seat in 2015 as a Republican, but he doesn’t consider himself strictly a Republican.

“I ran as a Republican then because I was running for a state office and that’s much more political party aligned. I don’t consider an alderman seat one that is aligned with a political party. I don’t think in city government it makes much difference if you are a Republican or a Democrat. If you ask me what I am now, I would tell you I’m a Natchezian,” Moroney said. “I look at things more in a common sense way. I want what is good for Natchez and what is good for Ward 6. I think you look at issues on a case by case basis and apply some common sense to it.”

Moroney is a lifelong Natchezian and operates Moroney Consulting, which is an independent information technology consulting firm. He works with computers and creates networks, Internet and camera systems.

“In doing the parades and other events with the city, I have worked a great deal with the police department, public works, emergency management and City Hall. I also served two temporary terms as the city’s IT directors when our IT directors left for various reasons,” Moroney said.

He was part of helping select the city’s next IT director, he said.

“In doing all these things, I have worked with every department in the city — transportation, the senior center and have spent a lot of time working with the police department,” Moroney said.