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We Need Change — By Tommy Purser

I went to last night’s meeting of the Jeff Davis County Republican Party because three candidates for the office of Mayor of Hazlehurst were going to be there to speak.

And I must say, all  three of them — John Ramay, John Bloodworth and Laneka Smith — represented themselves well.

The last time I went to a mayoral political forum I was disappointed. Disappointed because the only two candidates at that forum four years ago saw no need for the City of Hazlehurst to have a City Manager.

I could not have disagreed more.

I subscribe to weekly newspapers all over the state and one from Mississippi — Hazlehurst, Mississippi, to be exact.

I read those newspapers. I learn from them. I think deeply about how the communities each of those newspapers serve conduct their municipal governments.

And every one of the progressive, thriving, economically viable communities has a trained, experienced City Manager to guide those communities toward the future.

Not in Hazlehurst. And the lack of leadership that understands the need for help to assist council members to be better at what they do has cost our city dearly over the past few decades. And it shows.

It especially shows in our downtown area which, under the leadership of our present Mayor and Council, has embarassingly deteriorated.

For instance. How many readers remember when a runaway automobile wrecked in downtown Hazlehurst and all but destroyed the fencing around what was once a beautiful clock in the middle of downtown?

That happened a year ago. A YEAR.

And the fencing still is in shambles.

How long does it take for our city leaders to recognize that eyesore for what it is? Too long, that’s how long.

We need change.

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