Legislative breakfast will feature state lawmakers

Published 8:00 am Sunday, January 21, 2024

NATCHEZ — With the 2024 session well underway, city and county officials and lobbyists are and have already made rounds to Jackson and to Washington, D.C. with priorities in mind to benefit the local area.

But another opportunity for state legislators to bend an ear to Adams County residents happens right here in Natchez at the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative breakfast, scheduled Jan. 29 at 7:30 a.m. at the Natchez Grand Hotel.

Breakfast is $12.

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The legislative breakfast in an opportunity to meet  state leaders face to face and hear from them the matters of importance being discussed in the capital this session.

It’s also an opportunity for locals to have their written questions for our legislators answered.

Chamber officials ask that you email any questions you would like to have answered during the breakfast to manager@natchezchamber.com.

All leaders representing Adams County in the House and Senate are invited.

Also usually in attendance are local leaders with a few priorities of their own they hope legislators are paying attention to.

Adams County Board of Supervisors President Kevin Wilson said the county supervisors desire more funds for the continuation of projects for the Adams County Port, Belwood Levee and revised Morgantown Road project as well as for liquid loading docks and other improvements to the port.

Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson said he too has been visiting with the city’s lobbyists at Watkins & Eager and state officials for these and other city projects.

They’ve been in discussions with “the Lt. Governor on down, talking to our leaders and seeing what their appetite is for funding local projects,” Gibson said.

Top of the list is continuing to address the erosion issues plaguing the city and county, he said.

“We were successful in getting funding last year for projects, $1.5 million from the state,” Gibson said. “Some was for the county to help with Concord Ave., West Steirs Lane and Carthage Point Road. We’re continuing work to fund other erosion projects in Natchez and we’re also wanting to be supportive of the county to get more grant funds for the port and to further develop the airport.”

The city is pursuing other funding avenues as well.

“Most likely we will pursue a RAISE Grant for the Forks to Freedom project. That will be a major effort this year that will entail work on St. Catherine and Franklin streets, Devereux Drive and improve visibility at the flyover to point the entrance to Downtown Natchez and revitalize that area of North Natchez,” he said.

Also on the wish list are more funds to continue the lighting project on the Mississippi River bridge. As for workforce development, the city plans to implement a Coating Academy at Fallin Career and Technology Center with support from the Delta Regional Authority to help train Natchez’s Information Technology workforce.

Gibson said the city could see money coming from Washington, D.C. to help pay for a new fire truck for the airport, construction of Forks to Freedom Park, new infrastructure in the Martin Luther King Jr. triangle and on the bluff where the plan is to build Hiram Revels Plaza and the U.S. Colored Troops Monument.

“Where all of those federal earmarks will end up, we don’t know,” he said.