Our candidate endorsements
Published 9:30 am Sunday, August 6, 2023
The editorial board of The Natchez Democrat met with each candidate in contested races in the Aug. 8 primary election. During those interviews, we asked questions of the candidates about the challenges of the position and how they would work to meet those.
It is our duty as a watchdog and cheerleader of this community to provide you with insight and direction as to the candidates we think are worthy of your vote. We coupled the information from those interviews with our working experience covering the stories about county government and courts during the last four years to offer our endorsements.
Adams County Supervisor
District 1 Supervisor Wes Middleton and District 5 Supervisor Warren Gaines each have earned another term on the Adams County Board of Supervisors.
The last four years in county and city government have been exceptionally successful. Middleton and Gaines deserve credit for a large part of that success.
Both worked diligently to strengthen the relationship between the city and county, which has paid dividends in important work like securing millions in grant funding for the Adams County Airport, Morgantown Road drainage and workforce development.
Supervisors have funded important work like improvements at every county park and repaving and restriping approximately 80 county roads, all without raising taxes on county residents.
Each deserves and opportunity to continue serving Adams County residents in their district.
Adams County Sheriff
We recommend Travis Patten continue as Adams County Sheriff.
Over the last eight years, Patten has worked to make certain the Adams County Sheriff’s Office has been staffed with highly trained deputies and support team. He has put an emphasis on professionalism and training to better serve the citizens of Adams County.
During the last four years, which included the unprecedented challenges of the COVID epidemic, Patten has been the law enforcement leader to whom all of Adams County turned when matters of public safety are in question.
Patten has a reputation of transparency and values an informed constituency.
Simply put, Adams County residents will be safer with Travis Patten as sheriff.
Adams County Chancery Clerk
The Natchez Democrat heartily endorses Brandi Lewis for another term as Chancery Clerk.
Lewis has an excellent understanding of the scope and responsibilities of what the Chancery Clerk does and needs to do in Adams County. In Lewis’s eight years in office, she has made great strides. Lewis has built an effective team centered on mutual respect.
The role of Chancery Clerk does not approve the spending of taxpayer money. That’s the job of the Adams County Board of Supervisors. The role of the Chancery Clerk is to maintain the records and documents of the county, and Lewis and her staff do that exceptionally well.
Adams County Tax Assessor
We recommend Adams County residents vote for Conswella Madison for Adams County Tax Assessor. She has the knowledge and experience needed to attain the certifications necessary to be an effective tax assessor, and she has the background and track record to do the job effectively.
Unlike some elected jobs, tax assessors must have a high level of knowledge about property appraisal and expertise in appraising. In part, being competent in those skills is gained through education resulting in tax assessor certification.
Not attaining that certification puts the assessing process in jeopardy and costs taxpayers additional funds in paying for that expertise from someone else.
Unfortunately, in the four years of his term, the current tax assessor has not achieved certification. Madison made it clear attaining assessor certification will be her top priority and that she will work in the field when elected.
Justice Court Judge Southern District
We endorse Eileen Maher for another term as Justice Court Judge.
Maher is passionate about her work as Justice Court Judge and is highly versed in the law. She has often gone above and beyond in following up with some of the people who come before her in court out of a sense of caring and helpfulness.
Maher, as well as each of the judges in Adams County, has taken criticism for setting low bond amounts. However, Maher has followed Mississippi Judicial bonding and sentencing guidelines in her decisions.
We would hope going forward, Maher and all judges here would be sensitive to the concerns of citizens about revolving door criminals.
County Prosecuting Attorney
Anthony “Tony” Heidelberg should be elected County Prosecuting Attorney.
Heidelberg, who was appointed county prosecutor earlier this year, has a proven track record in the law and business. As a private attorney, municipal judge and successful businessman, he is uniquely positioned to bring together resources to strengthen the county prosecutor position and to offer counsel to victims.
As an involved member of the community, Heidelberg has a vested interest in keeping Natchez and Adams County safe in order to protect quality of life here.