Gibson kicks off bid for second term as Natchez mayor

Published 8:27 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

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NATCHEZ — With a packed ballroom at the Natchez Grand Hotel shouting four more years, Dan Gibson kicked off his campaign to earn a second term as Natchez mayor.

Bishop Dr. Stanley B. Searcy Sr. of New Hope The Vision Center set the tone for the night in his opening prayer with a specific request: He asked God to give Gibson 70 percent of the vote or greater come the next election. That request was met with a hearty round of “Amen.”

Gibson gathered his supporters Thursday night to thank them and ask for their continued support.

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“I have relied on you to get to this point and I can go no further without you,” Gibson said.

He touted some of the accomplishments of his term as mayor to date, including 700 new building projects worth more than $70 million. He said 1,000 new jobs have been created in Natchez in his term thus far, 250 new businesses opened and record unemployment.

Gibson also said more than 1,000 houses in Natchez have been sold during the last three years.

“Gone are the days of we can’t. Now, we can,” he said.

Gibson talked about recently completed projects, as well as those beginning soon, such as the renovation of the Natchez Convention Center, Natchez City Auditorium and Natchez Civic Center, as well as the Duncan Park Golf Club and the paving of almost 50 Natchez streets. Those projects are being paid for without an increase in taxes to Natchez citizens.

However, he said his greatest accomplishment thus far is to have worked to unite the Black and white communities in Natchez.

“You know what is greatest, and the reason I am in this job and the reason I want to keep this job is because of what is in this room,” Gibson said. “I don’t see Black and white. And I don’t see people who at one time were divided. I see people who now are united. And that is the greatest thing and what makes Natchez, Natchez.

“Yes, we have a long history, and we have a history that has not been the greatest history. And yes, there are moments in our history that bring us pause to think did that really happen? To think were people really treated that way? To think as we look at our beautiful mansions, were they really built by enslaved human beings who had not choice but to build them? It is hard to imagine when you go to Forks of the Road to think about so many of the atrocities that occurred 150 years ago.

“It makes me love Natchez more to understand we are the recipients of so much. So many leaders who have gone before us. So many pioneers who have gone before us in building this city. Those who have made the ultimate sacrifices, our soldiers, those who have fought for our country on foreign lands, and also here at home. And when I consider those U.S. Colored Troops, who gave their lives. And when I also consider those other soldiers, like Wharlest Jackson. You know, we truly are blessed to live in a city that in this day and time has overcome such a past to enjoy and celebrate such a place. And to now embrace and look forward to such a robust and amazing future.”

Wharlest Jackson of Natchez was making his way home from his job at Armstrong Tire and Rubber Co., where he had recently been promoted, when a bomb that was planted under the driver’s seat in his vehicle exploded, killing him. No one was ever charged for Jackson’s murder.

“I want to continue to be a part of that team Natchez. What we have started must continue. And may I say this, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” Gibson said.