Gus McCoy, a youth pastor and business owner who is running for the Hinds County Board of Supervisors open District 2 seat, called for more cooperation between the county and city of Jackson at a candidate's forum Wednesday evening.
Photo by R.L. Nave.
Eleven candidates for two open seats on the Hinds County Board of Supervisors gathered Wednesday night to lay out their plans for getting the most bang from the 56 million that roughly account for the county's annual budget.
The hopefuls for the District 2 and District 4 slots painted with broad strokes their plans to lower crime and promote economic development in Mississippi's most populous county.
The District 2 candidates who attended the forum—all of whom are running as Democrats—included David Archie, W.R. "Bo" Brown, Alberta Ross Gibson, Gus McCoy, Willie Earl Robinson and Theodore "Ted" Williams. The names of candidates Dorothy "Dot" Benford and Darrel McQuirter appeared on the printed program, but they did not attend the event.
District 4 hopefuls included Republican Alvin Woods, independent candidate James I. Duke and Democrat James "Lap" Baker. Dan Smith's name appeared on the program, but he did not attend the forum.
Alvin Woods, who is vying in the District 4 seat Phil Fisher vacated to become mayor of Clinton, said that even though "crime is eating away at Hinds County like a cancer," officials should look at alternatives to locking up people in the Raymond Detention Center, such as expanding electronic monitoring of prisoners.
James I. Duke echoed Woods' call to reduce crime and bring fiscal leadership to the board.
"We have enough money to do what we need to do in this county, if it's applied properly," Duke told the audience of close to 100 people at Farish Street Baptist Church.
W.R. "Bo" Brown, a former Ward 4 representative on the Jackson City Council, characterized Hinds County's difficulties as perception vs. reality.
"Is the glass half full, or is the glass half empty?" Brown asked. "We have to change the perceptions of Hinds County, because sometimes perception is reality."
Gus McCoy, a youth pastor, called for more cooperation between the county and city of Jackson.
"Look around you. Every area that's thriving has a municipality and a county that's working together," McCoy said.
Alberta Ross Gibson, the only female candidate present, called for the creation of a youth-empowerment and leadership council as a solution to the problem of committing young people crimes. She said improving public safety would open doors for economic development in Hinds County.
The Hinds County Republican and Democratic primaries take place Tuesday, Sept. 24. Election Day is Nov. 5.