ERRICK D. SIMMONS
City of Greenville Mayor
“We Are One” by Gabbie Mcgee
Mayor Errick D. Simmons is the first African-American male and the second African-American mayor of Greenville, Mississippi, where he received the highest percentage (74%) of the popular vote ever received by a mayoral candidate in Greenville.
In 2007, Mayor Errick D. Simmons began his career in municipal government. Before returning home to Greenville to start his municipal government career, Simmons graduated second in his class at T.L. Weston High School in 1995, second to his twin brother and law partner, Mississippi State Senator Derrick T. Simmons, who is the Senate Minority Leader for Democratic Party. Simmons later studied at Jackson State University, where he received a Bachelor in Business Administration in Economics in 2000. In 2002, he received a Master’s in Arts in Economics from Howard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and received his Juris Doctorate from Howard University School of Law in 2005
Currently, Simmons serves as a member of several local, state, and national boards and organizations, to name a few: President, Mississippi Delta Mayors Association, 2021-2022 1st Vice President of Mississippi Municipal League (MML), Vice President of Delta Council, Mississippi Economic Council Board of Governors, Co-Chair of Mississippi Rivers Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI), Boys Scouts of America, U.S. Conference of Mayors, Washington County Economic Alliance Board of Directors, Greenville Rotary Club (Paul Harris Fellow), Annie E. Casey Applied Leadership Network, life member of NAACP, life member of Magnolia Bar Association, life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., member of Mississippi Association of Justice, Mississippi Bar Association, National Bar Association, American Bar Association, Beta Gamma Sigma National Honor Society, and Chairman of Washington County Democratic Party. Simmons is a certified municipal official who has completed all three certification levels (i.e. basic, advanced, and professional) of the Mississippi Municipal League’s Certified Municipal Official Program.
In the Christian spirit of unity, Mayor Simmons pushed a message of “One People, One Goal, and One Greenville” to promote unity and foster togetherness when he became mayor in 2016. The community has taken on the call to unify and work more collectively for a better Greenville. Keeping God as the center of his administration, Simmons first initiative was a faith-based one entitled, “Worship on the Water” where faith-based leaders across the Mississippi Delta joined him for such announcement. Worship on the Water is a nationally recognized, interfaith, interracial initiative that fosters community and promotes unity on the fifth Sunday of every month purpose on bringing people together regardless of racial identity or religious affiliation. Simmons states, “Psalm 100 demands us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. On the fifth Sunday of every month, residents and citizens come and worship at the water on our levee front to make a joyful noise together in corporate worship. Folks are not restricted by the color of their skin nor confined by their churches’ addresses. We come to exalt God as one community.” Worship on the Water received the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 2017 City Livability Outstanding Achievement Award presented by President Bill Clinton.
Simmons later announced the City’s first ever re-entry program entitled, Greenville Re-Entry and Training Program (GREAT), a program aimed to hire and train returning citizens throughout the city. The City of Greenville hired its very first returning citizen on March 1, 2018. Under his administration as first-term mayor, Greenville has announced more than $110 million in local, state, and federal investments including the announcement of a $40.1 million new federal courthouse; a $9.1 million redevelopment of the Sears, Roebuck & Company building to include a boutique hotel, microbrewery, downtown restaurant, and butcher shop.
In August 2018, an estimated 100 new jobs were announced through economic development projects. Nufarm announced 68 manufacturing jobs with a $20 million investment, the first such announcement in Greenville since Textron in 2004. Tru by Hilton announced an 84-room hotel with 30 jobs with an estimated $10 million investment.
Some other accomplishments in his administration are worth noting:
- Announced the Reserves at Ed Gray, a $6.1 million housing development project for low to moderate income families where the City donated a city park to create safe and affordable housing
- Held Model Contractor Development Program in collaboration with Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, Mississippi Development Authority, Gene Finley with CompuRecycling Center, Inc., and other county and state partners
- Held first-ever Delta Emerging Small Business Conference in collaboration with U.S. Small Business Administration, Congressman Bennie G. Thompson, and other county and state partners
- Held City’s first ever Small Business and Brunch (B&B) in partnership with CompuRecycling Center, Inc., and other local, county, and state partners
- First in Mississippi to offer Manufacturing Skills Basic Course in high schools in collaboration with economic development professionals and educational institutions
- Announced Medical Pipeline with Greenville Public School District and Delta Regional Medical Center;
- Held National Night Out in partnership with Rural LISC and MACE
- Held Gas for Guns event in an effort to obtain as many guns off the streets.
- Began Early College with Mississippi Valley State University;
- Held Delta P2P, an 8th grade technology and career expo for over 2,000 public, private, and parochial school 8th graders in the Mississippi Delta;
- Created the City’s first-ever Homelessness Committee to address homeless in the community;
- Formed Greenville Community Collaborative Volunteer Group to help raise awareness and provide support to residents in need
- Began 2nd Grade Extravaganza for second graders in public, private, and parochial schools to learn how your local government works for you
- Started city’s first-ever reentry program in partnership with Rural LISC and WCEA;
- City has an EPA sanitary sewer project of more than $65 million to fix aging infrastructure
- Spent over $16 million on sewer and infrastructure repairs;
- Began first-ever Fire and Police Junior Kids Academies;
- Increased Parks and Recreation funding from $190,000 in 2015 to $600,000 in 2018, a 300% increase in his administration;
- Received $13.1 million dollars in airport improvements with roundtrip commercial air service to Dallas and Atlanta.
Simmons, his twin brother, and their firm cheerfully give to the community. Among several other things, the Simmons family sponsors an annual Christmas Toy Give-a-way, providing toys to nearly 600 needy children and families annually. To date, Simmons family has held their toy giveaway for nine consecutive years serving more than 5,000 children. Additionally, Mayor Simmons financially contributes to both Jackson State University, Howard University, and faith-based, charitable, civic, and social organizations. He is a mason and member of the Greater Springfield Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi where Mark S. Buckner is pastor. He and his wife, Dr. Temika M. Simmons, have three children, Errick, Eriel, and Elin.
Simmons is unopposed for his second term as mayor which begins January 1, 2020.
TEXT OF SIMMONS INAUGURATION SPEECH Delivered January 2, 2016 E.E. Bass Cultural Arts Center Greenville, Mississippi
WORKING TOGETHER AS ONE
I am truly honored and humbled for the support of so many of you and for the support of this community and for the opportunity to serve the great city of Greenville.
We Are One. First, I thank God for using me as a vessel to do His will. I would like to thank my lovely wife, Temika, for her unwavering love and support. I am grateful for our two children. Lil Errick, I thank you for an outstanding welcome and for being the greatest son in the world. And our daughter, Eriel, who at the age of 2, has become a regional radio personality with her famous declaration, “My daddy is a good daddy to me. My daddy will be a good mayor to you.” To my mother, who represents the heart of Greenville and the soul of my father. I love you and today is only a reflection of the sacrifices, beliefs, and values you and daddy implanted in me. I know my daddy is watching from above. I am forever grateful to him for his inspiration to me to be the best person that I can be and for instilling in me the ideal that when you are blessed with much, you must give back to the community that has given so much to you. To the rest of my family, thank you for your continued love and support. But above all, I give thanks to the residents of the City of Greenville. Your spirit of togetherness evidences a true unified effort to change the course of Greenville.
The strength of our city lies in our willingness and ability to work together on critical areas for the success of Greenville. To make Greenville all it can be, there are several areas that demand our attention.
- Economic Development
- Public Safety
- Parks and Recreation
- Downtown Revitalization/Port and Levee Front
Economic Development In economic development, together, we will create new jobs, sustain existing jobs, and expand opportunity so it reaches person in every corner of our city. Working together with our economic development professionals along with our county, state, and federal officials, we will create an Entrepreneurship, Start Up and Incubator Program, improve workforce development skills, create effective feeder programs with colleges and universities, and host the first ever Mississippi Delta Jobs Summit. We all know the vitality of a city depends on the number of jobs opportunities available for its residents. Our primary focus in the next four years will be jobs, jobs, jobs.
Public Safety No community can be successful unless it is safe. We must work together to reduce crime by developing community policing and restorative justice programs that will build strong community and police relations. We must effectively work with our community partners and agencies to address the causes of crime like drugs, mental health, gangs, and poverty. More importantly, we must provide our police officers with more training and the latest technology so we can all sleep well at night knowing they will be safe while keeping us safe.
Education Education is the cornerstone for so many things in Greenville. When you think about economic development, health, tourism, and public safety, they all have an educational component. Our kids do not deserve another day in this city where they are placed last behind items. Every kid in Greenville deserves a great education that will make him or her competitive with other students across the world. In education, we will work together with public, private, and parochial school administrators, community stakeholders, and students to ensure that the city is providing all the resources at its disposal to assist with achieving safer schools and higher academic standards. With the establishment of the public-private-parochial school roundtable discussion, we will develop a unified high-achieving education system in Greenville.
Parks and Recreation Together, we will develop more recreational facilities and activities for our youth understanding if we keep them busy, the streets can’t get them. Our number 1 investment must be in our children. All of us play a role in the education and future success of our children.
Downtown Revitalization/Port and Levee Front In order to have a sustainable community, we must revitalize and restore our downtown. Successful cities have successful downtowns. The implementation of the City’s 25-year plan is crucial in order to spur further development downtown. Together, we must continue port and levee front development, expansion, and utilization and start open air concerts at our Shelben Park to bring the community and tourists to the water downtown. Speaking of tourists, just a few months ago the 38th Annual Mississippi Delta Blues and Heritage Festival, Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, and the Hot Tamale Festival were all in Greenville, bringing people from all over the world to our area by plane, car, and yes, cruise ship. Together, we can get the number of people visiting our city to increase and become one of the leading tourist cities in the region. Together, we will move Greenville forward in these areas. In addition, there are several other areas that require our attention to be successful.
Public Infrastructure The need for better roads and streets with improved sewer and water lines is long-overdue. Together, we will develop a top-rate infrastructure plan for water and sewer lines.
Seniors Our seniors are important and we must gain a better understanding of the needs of our seniors.
Affordable Housing We must create more affordable housing options for our teachers, janitors, fire fighters, seniors, and other working families in Greenville.
Arts Arts are key to the success of Greenville, and we must work together to grow and expand the arts in education and other areas in the city. I think it’s safe to say that our area has a rich blues heritage. Names like Mississippi Slim, Son Thomas, BB King, and Eden Brent create a feeling inside your soul that is indescribable, electric, and authentic. No, all these people are not from Greenville, but I consider myself a regionalist. I appreciate the value that Greenville brings to this unique culture and I want other Greenvillians to embrace our immensely unique and internationally renowned way of life through the arts.Conclusion Together, we must work as One to accomplish this One Greenville vision. Together, we must work harder than ever to restore trust where it is broken and opportunity where it is lost. We Are One. For Greenville to become the City she deserves to be, We Are One must become a way of life. Despite the challenges we face, our hope is alive and our faith overcomes any challenge as we know that “this city can change the world, one step at a time, one goal, one voice, one song, in harmony we can’t go wrong.” We cannot endure as a city of haves and have-nots. We cannot tolerate racial injustice and discrimination in any form has not place. Whether you are white, black, rich, poor, young, old, Democrat, Republican, Baptist, Catholic, gay or straight, We Are One must become a reality for all of us. The white female student at Greenville High School must know that We Are One. The black male student at Washington School must know that We Are One. The single mother with two jobs and four kids must know that We Are One. The job seeker who wants a living wage must know that We Are One. The business owner or employer who opposes increasing the minimum wage must know that We Are One. The convicted felon that returns home to get a new lease on life must know that We Are One. Today, I challenge every citizen of this great city. You must do your part. Join with me in living a We Are One life. Join with me in being proud of a We Are One community. Join me in promoting and marketing a We Are One Greenville.
This is my city. This is your city. This is our city. One People. One Goal. One Greenville. Let’s move forward by Working Together As One.Thank You. God bless you. And may God bless Greenville, Mississippi.
Mayor Errick D. Simmons delivers the 2017 State of the City Address
Mayor Errick D. Simmons delivers the 2020 State of the City Address
Click the link below for the pdf version of the speech:
Mayor Errick D. Simmons delivers the 2021 State of the City Address
Click the link below for the pdf version of the speech: