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Letter to the Editor: Warren County Pastor endorses Flaggs for mayor

Letter to the Editor: Warren County Pastor endorses Flaggs for mayor 

I am addressing this letter to the voting residents of the City of Vicksburg. I live in Warren County so I can’t vote for Mayor George Flaggs, Jr.; therefore, I am penning this letter to give my view of our mayor. Yes, I said our mayor 

I have lived in Warren County for twenty-six (26) years and taught JROTC for 14 years at Vicksburg High School from 1996 to 2010. I met George Flaggs, Jr. when he was a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, District 55. From my initial meeting with Mr. Flaggs, I was impressed with our conversation and with the good things he was doing for District 55 (during the period of 1988-2013). 

Furthermore, I was overjoyed when Mr. Flaggs ran for Mayor of the City of Vicksburg in 2013. I could not vote for him, but I walked the streets and encouraged family, friends and coworkers who live in the city to vote for him. He won the election with 72 percent of the vote and took the oath of office on June 20, 2013. Four years later, Mayor Flaggs was re-elected by defeating two challengers and getting 79 percent of the vote. Now, Mayor Flaggs is running for a third term as Mayor of the City of Vicksburg.  

As the Pastor of New Beginning Church in Christ, we have a food pantry where we disseminate food for emergencies and to the indigent on the fourth Friday of each month. In doing so, we have long lines of people and I hear a lot of chatter about the mayor that I know is not true. At the ministerial prayer breakfast sponsored by the Committee to Re-Elect George Flaggs, Jr. as the Mayor of the City Vicksburg, I heard and saw all the good things this man has done and has brought to the city. I was puzzled; here is a man whom 79 percent of the citizens of Vicksburg voted for four years ago, and now people are vocally displeased with him. I made an appointment to see Mayor Flaggs because I had a question for him. 

When I met with Mayor Flaggs, my number one question was about funding to assist those low-income areas of the city with obtaining a low-interest loan to renovate or remodel their homes. He assured me that he was getting funds to assist homeowners in upgrading their property. After his answer, all I could say was thank you, sir. 

I say to you citizens of Vicksburg, stop listening to hearsay about your mayor. It’s like getting to know Jesus — seek the truth for yourself.  

Here are a few of Mayor Flaggs’ plans when re-elected: 

Police Department 

Create a homicide/gang violence prevention position 

Recruit and retain additional police officers while emphasizing the practice of community policing 

Restructure police officers pay 

Complete the second floor of the Vicksburg Police Department 

Fire Department 

Construct a new fire station near the 61 South and Iowa Boulevard area 

Restructure firefighters’ pay 

Continue to improve the fire rating (Level 3) 

Infrastructure, Economic, and Recreation Improvements 

Complete the final phases of the Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology Transfer, creating 300 new jobs, while transforming the historic 3-story Mississippi Hardware Building into a state-of-the-art entrepreneurial center, graduate center, state technology transfer center, and local and regional economic development hub 

Expand the Port of Vicksburg, creating 500 new jobs, while capitalizing on additional market segments. 

Create a hazardous weather readiness program 

Construct 3 additional 500,000-gallon water storage tanks in North, South, and Central Vicksburg and add 3-4 additional water wells to the water plant 

Create a $4 million annual street repaving program 

Enhance the Inner-City Youth Development Program 

Develop Youth Enhancement Educational Programs 

Riverfront Development 

Complete the $11 million riverfront capital improvement plan, including a natural amphitheater, public green space, welcome gateways, additional murals, accent lighting, educational areas, ADA sloped walkways, improved boat launch and parking, pavilion and railway pedestrian crossing improvements 

Complete enhancements to our riverfront at no cost to taxpayers through an agreement with riverboat companies. 

Human Resources 

Create a hospitality workforce development program with Hinds Community College and Alcorn State University 

Enhance outdoor spaces and family attractions within Vicksburg 

Expand retail/small business 

Expand Uptown Mall, Outlet Mall and area restaurants 

Commercial and Residential Housing  

Construct 40-upscale condominiums/townhouses in the Historic Downtown Vicksburg area 

Construct approximately 30 houses valued between $200-250k in the Indiana Avenue area 

Construct approximately 40 homes valued between $125,000 and $175,000 in the Kings area/28 homes located within the Opportunity Zone 

Construct new apartments in the Highway 61 North/Confederate Ridge area

Renovate existing apartments in the South Street area 

Community Development

Complete the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil Rights Parks on the site of the former Kuhn Memorial Hospital 

Construct a state-of-the-art animal shelter 

Continue to make improvements to the Vicksburg Municipal Airport 

Reorganize the city’s charter 

Together, we can do this without raising your taxes! 

It simple to me ladies and gentlemen, why choose a mule to ride in a horse race. Get out on June 8 and vote for Mayor George Flaggs, Jr. 

To God be the Glory!

Sincerely, 

James O. Bowman Sr. 

Vicksburg, Miss.