Ward 2 Councilwoman Deborah Delgado has announced that she will run again next year for another four-year term on Hattiesburg City Council, but if she wins, that term – which would be her sixth – will be her last.
Late last week, Delgado said she would not pursue another term after that, mainly because she has things she wants to accomplish outside of council.
“I am currently 68, and hopefully the world will open up for some travel, because I would like to do some traveling,” she said. “But I have grandchildren, and I can’t convince my children to move back to Hattiesburg, because it’s not the place they want their children to grow up; they think that they would be limited here. So I want to make this a place where they would want to come to.
“And when they’re here, I’m on the edge. My oldest son and his wife are runners, and they go running through the neighborhood, and I’m just frightened to death because they’re African Americans. And a lot of times, my son goes by himself, and it just scares me. Even when they’re here and they’re driving, I prefer that they drive my vehicle, because of things that may occur.”
If she wins her next term, Delgado said she would focus on the Twin Forks Rising project, which is aimed at the revitalization of once-thriving Ward 2.
Delgado began work on the initiative in 2013, and the nonprofit Twin Forks Rising Development Corporation began operations in 2018 with the help of a $150,000 payment from the City of Hattiesburg.
A second and final $150,000, made possible by a Memorandum of Understanding approved by Hattiesburg City Council in June 2019, allowed the organization to employ a program coordinator, along with several additional measures aimed at improving the quality of life in that area.
“We have the Mobile Street area that has not recovered from (the tornado in) 2013, we have the East Jerusalem area, and that community surrounding William Carey,” Delgado said. “Even though William Carey has come back, that community has not recovered.
“Those are things that we need to at least get going, and to start with the mission of creating a vibrant community in east Hattiesburg again.”
In a previous story, Delgado said Ward 2’s biggest challenge is flooding.
“We know that there are developers that work with that, so we are continuing in our search to get someone to come here and assist us with redeveloping Ward 2,” she said. “We want to provide a quality of life that gives access to life on two rivers, and we are in proximity to two rivers. We can’t do any development in the floodway, but in the floodplain, we plan to do that.”
Delgado is founder and chairperson of the annual Historic Mobile Street Renaissance Festival, an annual celebration launched in 2008 to honor the area’s culture and heritage.
She has served with the Advisory Council of the National League of Cities, the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, the Mississippi Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials and the World Conference of Mayors.
She also has been a board member of the Mississippi Municipal League.
Delgado holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a Master of Arts degree in history from Jackson State University and a juris doctorate from Texas Southern University.
She has taught at both Jackson State and Texas Southern.
She is a member of Tabernacle of Prayer Church of God In Christ, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Life Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and numerous other social and civic organizations.
Delgado was elected to Hattiesburg City Council in 2001.
Municipal elections are slated for next summer.