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SUN HERALD EDITORIAL: Election will shape Coast for years

Sun Herald Editorial Board | April 20, 2013

Ocean Springs is on a roll. It has a bustling downtown, an enviable nightlife, and it recently received a Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Voters will decide who best can build on that success. 
The coming elections -- May 7 primary, May 21 runoff and June 4 general election -- will shape the Coast for years to come.

In D'Iberville, those chosen by the voters will find themselves in the midst of something of a boom. They will guide the downtown revitalization, could see the city become the No. 1 shopping destination in the region and may be there for the completion of the Ocean Expo Aquarium and Learning Center.

Pascagoula voters will pick a new mayor (Robbie Maxwell isn't running) and several fresh faces on the council to lead the industrial center of the region. Moss Point voters will decide who they think can best capitalize on some recent positive developments and lead that city through a host of challenges, including a troublesome gas system.

Ocean Springs is on a roll. It has a bustling downtown, an enviable nightlife, and it recently received a Great American Main Street Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Voters will decide who best can build on that success.

Gautier has a lot going on, too. Good things seem to be happening at the Singing River Mall site and the city is making moves to become a bigger player in the tourism industry. It's a city with plans. Voters will decide who best can carry them out.

Biloxi has its share of challenges: an east side still reeling in the aftermath of Katrina, some vacant casino properties to deal with and transportation issues. It also is the center of the casino industry and has a vibrant and growing list of restaurants and clubs.

Gulfport's new mayor (George Schloegel isn't running) will inherit a revived downtown full of restaurants and pubs, and the gorgeous and booming Jones Park. The city also has a lot of infrastructure work to do and a budget not likely to get significantly larger. The new leader also will inherit the long-running and expensive annexation dispute with Biloxi.

All those cities, and Long Beach, Pass Christian, Diamondhead, Bay St. Louis and Waveland to the west are dealing with challenges from Katrina and the opportunities offered by a flood of state and federal money. Add to that the millions in expected from BP and each will need its best leaders to get the most of those dollars. Voters will decide who those people are.

The Sun Herald has interviewed 20 of 21 people running in contested primaries in many of those cities. We'll begin a series on those races beginning Tuesday, and, we'll have some recommendations based on interviews with the candidates.

We'll do our best to educate the voters and we hope each will give careful consideration to these decisions that will affect the Coast far into the future.



This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board, which consists of President-Publisher Glen Nardi, Vice President and Executive Editor Stan Tiner, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Flora S. Point, Audience and Human Resources Director Wanda Howell, Marketing and Interactive Director John McFarland and Associate Editor Tony Biffle.