Thank you for four more years!

Published 7:45 pm Saturday, February 17, 2024

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t was just after 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, and I was enjoying a normal Friday afternoon talking with friends and enjoying the close to a brisk and productive winter day. Suddenly, my phone began buzzing in my pocket, and I looked down to see so many people sending me congratulations on another four years in office. It was surreal to say the least.

Later the next week, Jan Griffey of The Natchez Democrat contacted me and asked how it felt to be the first mayor since 1922 to run unopposed. One would have thought I would be prepared for the question, but in fact I was truly speechless.

It is overwhelming to know that the citizens of this city I love have again placed their trust in me, this time without opposition. But I haven’t made it here on my own. Keeping our Natchez Renewal moving forward has truly been a team effort.

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First, I must thank the Natchez Board of Aldermen. While not all have supported our Natchez Renewal, a solid majority has. I pray those who have made tough decisions to support our agenda prevail in upcoming elections. Their reelection is critical to our continued success

I must also thank incredible department directors. And enough can’t be said for the relationship we have built with our Board of Supervisors and our School Board, in addition to a great team of federal and state officials representing Natchez in both Jackson and Washington. Working together, with the help of outstanding lobbyists, we have made history.

Over the past four years, we have invested significantly in our infrastructure, public buildings, and our city parks. We have taken care of our first responders by providing them with essential equipment upgrades and also giving multiple raises to police, fire and public works. A significant overlay improvement project to our streets is under way, and our most recent success, a $40 million retail development bringing more than 300 jobs to Natchez by next year, is icing on the cake. I am so grateful to say all of this has been done without raising taxes.

Looking forward, I get excited when I consider all of the great things on our horizon. And I must thank partners like Natchez Inc., the Natchez-Adams County Chamber of Commerce, Visit Natchez, the Natchez Convention Center, the Historic Natchez Foundation, the National Park Service, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, NAPAC, our port, rail and airport and our Downtown Natchez Alliance.

Also, our large employers, small businesses, tour partners, faith-based community, and more community organizations than I can count continue to support our city in tremendous ways.

Working together, Natchez-Adams County partners have seen well over $40 million in grants and appropriations awarded to projects in our community over the past four years, and we are now on our way to $50 million! This doesn’t even count over $70 million (and counting) in new construction permits — and over 1,000 new jobs.

While the mayor’s race will not be contested on April 2, this is still an important election that will have major implications for the future of our city. I urge all who call Natchez their home to make sure you’re registered to vote 30 days before the April 2 election. Registering to vote is the right thing to do but making the right vote is even more important. The Natchez Renewal had been happening in spite of some who would rather see it not happen. I want to make sure that those who have been working with me to move our city forward can continue advancing the Natchez Renewal with me, creating One Natchez, where all are celebrated and appreciated.

Thank you, Natchez, for four more years. And make sure to get out there and vote — and make the right vote! It is an important election. We have more great things to accomplish. Because Natchez Deserves More!

Dan M. Gibson is mayor of Natchez