Welcome Message From the Mayor

Message from Mayor Keith Gaskin

When I was campaigning I promised to lead by civility, transparency and honesty. My priorities were

public safety, education, a sound economic strategy, infrastructure and community & culture. Those are

still my priorities even though at times it may not seem as such. This is a position I do not take for

granted. We may not always agree, but we should always be aligned on what is best for our Friendly

City.

As Mayor, I will continue to listen, to learn and to advocate for our great city. If we are to succeed, we

must first be kind to each other. We have to seek out what we have in common and not what divides us.

I will continue to have an open and productive relationship with all citizens because honest

communication is important in identifying and solving problems. These tenets are the cornerstones of

my faith, my work, my life and my hope for a brighter future for Columbus.

Your Public Servant,

Keith

  1. Perspectives, Principles and Priorities
  2. Education & Professional Experience

Mayor Gaskin’s Perspectives, Principles and Priorities:


Honesty and Transparency: Plain speaking and earnest, effective communication are essential to my

personal and professional code of ethics. City Hall has to lead in an honest way or people won't trust

and without trust, we fail. We owe each other our honesty and forthrightness, even when it's not pretty,

if we are to live, work and play like the good neighbors we are. Transparency is vital in good

government. My goal is to keep an open and productive relationship with the citizens, the press and all

the good folk in local city and county government. We have to work hard to be good stewards and

servants to our community and it all begins with open, honest and transparent communication.

Public Safety/COVID 19: I am so grateful to all our medical personnel, law enforcement agencies, fire

and rescue team, first responders, front-line and essential workers who have continued to work through

this unprecedented time in our world. I take the virus very seriously and have encouraged citizens to

join me in getting vaccinated as well as wearing of masks as deemed appropriate, proper sanitizing and

social distancing. We need our citizens to feel safe in their homes, neighborhoods and schools. Members

of the city council voted to purchase new self-contained breather apparatus units for the fire & rescue

department. We will continue to actively look for funding sources to purchase digital radios for our

police department, as well other public safety needs. In addition, I am listening to citizens about

concerns they have about the safety and well-being of our community. A safe community is a thriving

community.

Education: I have a passion for promoting and ensuring quality education at every age, for all walks of

life. I realize not all learning is done in the classroom, but a quality education, trade and/or skill set

increases the likelihood of a successful student which leads to a successful community. With over 20

years of experience in working in administrative roles in higher and secondary education, I embrace the

unique roles that universities and community colleges play through workforce development, local

economic development and vocational training. Our children and their education is one of the main

reasons I decided to run for mayor. As an enthusiastic advocate of lifelong learning, I am determined to

ensure our schools are safe and well-resourced. I will pursue innovative education opportunities by

strengthening the relationship between the local public schools, universities and community colleges.

This will be instrumental in forming a cohesive learning environment for the entire community to

promote lifelong learning and supporting those with special situations and needs.

Infrastructure: We need to implement a program of need-based repair, maintenance and improvement

to our municipal infrastructure (streets, sewage, gas, light and water) to accommodate the current

needs as well as the future growth of our city. The city hired Waggoner Engineering in December of

2021 to help us leverage ARPA funds to address some of these needs. Some streets are newly paved,

but we realize there are other streets that need paving as well. Please be sure to contact your

city councilperson about this concern because the city council plays a role in determining which streets

are paved. Cleaning up run-down and abandoned properties remain a priority. This will not only help

our town look better but will be key in attracting new residential developments while keeping an eye on

annexation opportunities.

Economic Strategy: My career has been focused on building relationships between the public and

private sectors and I have brought that to City Hall. I believe the same strategy that work in higher

education can work across our municipal systems. With this policy, we will aggressively seek out types of

partnerships to grow Columbus in ways that can be a relief to tax payers and move the city forward. We

will continue to combat population decline by promoting all businesses, recruiting small business and

entrepreneurs along with growing industries. All businesses are not brick and mortar but that leaves

room for collaborations between online and physical businesses. We will encourage entrepreneurship

while creating economic vitality and a unique sense of place. My goal is to make Columbus the Creative

Capital of Mississippi.

Civil Community & Culture: Before we can be a thriving community, we must first learn to be kind to

one another. We can respectfully disagree on something but still have the best for the city at heart. I will

continue to lead by the tenet of there is more that brings us together than more that separates us. I

believe art, music, dance, theatre, sports, etc. are just a few of the many ways we can come together for

there is no right or wrong. The arts tell a story and we each have one in which others can learn. I believe

we have everything we need to build a cultural atmosphere and market the city through historic

resources, the arts, sports, unique downtown business and beautification, including clean streets and

ditches, parking lots, etc. We can't afford to be divided but instead work toward a common desire to be

good stewards and servants to our community.

Look out for each other and stay safe!