Ex-GOP governor hopeful becomes Democratic mayor of Natchez

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NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) — A man who once ran as a Republican for Mississippi governor has become the new Democratic mayor of Natchez, and this is the second city where he has held the top job.

Mayor Dan Gibson and members of the Natchez Board of Aldermen were inaugurated Friday.

Gibson succeeds Darryl Grennell, a Democrat who did not seek a second term as mayor in the city of 14,600.

Gibson was elected in 1996 as mayor of Crystal Springs, which had about 5,000 residents and is about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northeast of Natchez.

Gibson unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for governor in 1999 and has worked as a lobbyist for an insurance group.

He has lived in Natchez the past four years and owns a bed-and-breakfast inn. The Natchez Democrat newspaper reported that he ran on a platform of bringing jobs and economic opportunity to the city.

During the inauguration ceremony Friday, Gibson presented Grennell with a banner that includes the Natchez city seal that was adopted while Grennell was mayor. Gibson proposed that the banner become the city flag.

The banner includes elements honoring the Natchez Indians who were “the first occupants and owners of this land,” Gibson said. It also honors the French, British and Spanish who later occupied the land.

The image also contains West African Adinkra symbols “Mmere Dane,” which means “change,” and “Boa me na me mmoa wo,” interpreted to mean “help me, and let me help you.”

“We also pay honor to those enslaved African men and women and their children, for truly we would not be here and this city would not be the beautiful city that it is today had it not been for their ultimate sacrifice,” said Gibson, who is white and is leading a majority-Black city.

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