JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – U.S. Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) was in town on Thursday to talk about some big issues in Jackson at a town hall with the president of the NAACP.
NAACP leaders said they called the town hall to educate the public on recent legislation that passed involving the City of Jackson and to discuss the city’s long-standing water infrastructure issues.
The meeting was a follow-up to another town hall held back in October. Since then, Jackson got $600 million federal dollars to fix the water infrastructure, but they said the fight for an equitable water system isn’t over.
“This is a great step in the right direction, but we’re going to have to continue to push to ensure that Jackson gets all the money and resources that it needs to rebuild,” said Abre’ Conner with the NAACP.
The NAACP filed a complaint, alleging decades of discrimination and neglect on the water system from the state.
“Talking about the failure of the water system, the first thing we did was file a Title 6 complaint, which opened the door and Congressman Thompson got the money. We can no longer have these gatherings if we’re not talking about solutions,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
Leaders also condemned controversial bills targeting Jackson that passed this Legislative Session like House Bill 1020 that expands the Capital Complex Improvement District (CCID) and creates an inferior municipal court. House Bill 1168 restricts how the city can spend the 1% tax revenue, and House Bill 698 bans water billing by property value.
“You can’t give me another example of a system you’re trying to take like you’re doing Jackson. You can’t give me another police department that you’re trying to take like you’re doing in Jackson. If people wanted to help us, the first thing they should have done is come talk to us,” said Thompson.
These bills are still awaiting the governor’s signature, but the NAACP plans to take legal action against the state if the bills are signed into law.
Garbage collection wasn’t on the agenda for the town hall, but the issue came up. Thompson said the issue should have been resolved before taking legal action and that city leaders need to work it out, so they can move on to more pressing issues.