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Letter to the Editor

The importance of YOU completing your 2020 census questionnaire



The following is a letter to the editor from Debra Robinson Goodman in the Vicksburg Mayor’s office. Opinions and views expressed in letters to the editor are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the Vicksburg Daily News.

Every 10 years we, as citizens, are called upon to complete the census; but, for some reason, this year seems more crucial than ever to actively participate in the count. Could it be the current issues facing our country — a global pandemic, raging fires, rampant flooding, heighten racial injustices, threats of global warming and mitigating climate changes to name a few?

The 2020 census is by no means the cure-all for these issues but completing the questionnaire will certainly allow us to make a difference in how they are addressed. By being part of the count, we can participate in deciding where federal monies are spent and how we are represented.

Vicksburg has a population of fewer than 25,000, which limits the city from competing for grants and monies to enhance our city. Census data will directly affect fund distributions for health initiatives, educational programs, disaster recovery as well as other critical programs for the next 10 years! We certainly want to ensure that these programs in Vicksburg and Warren County are fully funded — we don’t want to leave any money on the table.

The 2020 census will determine Warren County’s congressional representation, ensure that a portion of hundreds of billions in federal funding are allocated to our county and provide vital statistics that will impact Vicksburg and Warren County for the next decade. Additionally, the 2020 census data will be used to draw congressional and state legislative districts, which will directly impact our city and county.

To date, the response rates for Vicksburg and Warren County are 60.9% and 58.3%, respectively, noting that the national response rate is 65.9% and Mississippi’s response rate is 59.5%. There are five states that are in the 99th percentile — we want to help our state reach that goal!

The deadline for completing the nine-item questionnaire is Thursday, Sept. 30, 2020. There are three ways to be counted:

  • Mail in the paper copy, which must be postmarked by the Sept. 30 deadline.
  • Dial in to the toll-free number, 844-330-2020.
  • Or complete the survey online at

Additionally, there are census enumerators in Vicksburg and Warren County, ensuring that the hard-to-count areas are included. These trained enumerators are identifiable by distinctive 2020 census badges and U.S. Department of Commerce insignia.

For more information or assistance in responding to the 2020 census, please contact the City of Vicksburg Mayor’s Office or the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

It is important to mention that census responses are safe, secure and confidential. By federal law, the responses will not be shared and may only be used statistically.

Finally, when we respond to the census, we help Vicksburg and Warren County get its fair share of the more than $675 billion per year in federal funds spent on education, medical care, infrastructure, public works and other programs. For example, developers use the census to build new homes and revitalize old neighborhoods which we desperately need in our communities.

We all benefit when YOU complete the 2020 census questionnaire!

Debra Robinson Goodman
City of Vicksburg/Mayor’s Office
2020 Census Liaison

Opinions and views expressed in letters to the editor are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the Vicksburg Daily News.

Letter to the Editor

If we do what we have always done, we will get what we have always gotten



(Photo by Steve Minor)

The following is a letter to the editor from Sam Andrews, assistant to Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. Opinions and views expressed in letters to the editor are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the Vicksburg Daily News.

To use the phrase “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” as the primary justification for staying the course may sound risk-free, but it isn’t. And in 2020, there’s no place for complacency, at least not in a community that’s committed to attracting new residents, new offerings and new revenues.

During a time where investors are competitively sought, courted and ultimately convinced that a community is worth taking a chance on, it’s never been more important for us, and especially our elected leaders, to keep open minds and imagine what is possible instead of only what has or hasn’t been done in the past.

Last week, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., proposed what he believed to be a practical accommodation for restaurants located within the recreation and leisure district in downtown Vicksburg in light of indoor seating capacity restrictions due to COVID-19. The mayor’s proposal included rerouting vehicle traffic to one-way travel during spring, summer and fall on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to midnight. Only a two-block area of Washington Street, from Clay to South Street, would be temporarily converted to one-way.

The proposal was a simple attempt to assist restaurants in making up lost revenues by allowing seating on sidewalks and in parking spaces in front of their businesses. The proposed change to one-way traffic for 10 hours per week in a two-block area of downtown for a portion of the calendar year is not uncommon — many cities across America have chosen an identical model to expand outdoor dining and entertainment offerings long before COVID-19 ever existed.

During a public hearing last week, a small group voiced their disapproval of the mayor’s proposal, saying one-way traffic had been tried in the past and hurt downtown businesses.

I ask, when we last tried one-way traffic, was it in place 24-hours a day, 7-days a week or only during evening hours during a portion of the calendar year on Friday and Saturday after retail merchants were closed for the day? Was one-way traffic in place for a large portion of Washington Street or only for a 2-block area? Had we seen nearly $6 million in new investments in downtown in the last year? Were we in the middle of a global pandemic with indoor seating capacity restrictions?

Perhaps the street closure would have worked with today’s transformed downtown environment or perhaps it would not have worked. But looking beyond an issue as simple as additional outdoor dining — if Vicksburg is ever to grow, or even allow ourselves the opportunity to grow, we must dare to dream, dare to open our minds to new possibilities and then create pathways for those possibilities to take root.

We are not an island but, instead, a city well-positioned to compete against other cities all across the United States as a thriving and dynamic center of culture, creativity and innovation.

I’m grateful that our mayor continues to imagine what is possible for our community’s future even though he knows he’ll likely be met with resistance. And although not every attempt will be successful, we certainly won’t succeed if we don’t try; moreover, we absolutely won’t succeed if we don’t allow our elected leaders the opportunity to try on our behalf.

Sam Andrews

Opinions and views expressed in letters to the editor are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the Vicksburg Daily News.

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