Politics & Government

From trash to crime, Gulfport candidates discuss issues at forum

Gulfport Ward 1 councilman candidates Johnny Sanders, Kenneth “Truck” Casey Sr. (I) and Maurice Bryant sit will Chris Fishers moderates a forum Saturday in Gulfport.
Gulfport Ward 1 councilman candidates Johnny Sanders, Kenneth “Truck” Casey Sr. (I) and Maurice Bryant sit will Chris Fishers moderates a forum Saturday in Gulfport. jclark@sunherald.com

With Tuesday’s primary election only a few days away, Gulfport council candidates gathered Saturday to discuss some issues and mingle with potential voters.

The Gulfport NAACP and North Gulfport Civic Club held a candidates forum Saturday morning at Isaiah Fredericks Community Center. The forum was moderated by Chris Fisher.

“We have been holding this forum for 33 years,” Fisher said during his opening remarks. “The goal is to make sure you have the information you need to make the best decision on election day.”

Ward 1

Ward 1 candidates — incumbent Kenneth L. “Truck” Casey Sr., Maurice Bryant and Johnny Sanders — were the first to deliver their platforms. All three are running in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

One of the questions submitted by the audience members asked the candidates to name the three most important issues in Ward 1 and how they plan to address the issues. Bryant answered the question first as Casey was the first to deliver opening remarks.

Maurice Bryant

Communication : “If anything gets done in Ward 1, everyone needs to know about it.”

Struggles of young people: “We don’t have any activities and enough facilities open in Ward 1.”

Streets and drainage: “This is an issue that is city-wide, but it always seems in our community, we have to wait four years.

Johnny Sanders

Communication: “We don’t communicate enough with the people in the ward.”

Safety: “I have found several neighborhoods that said they don’t feel safe.”

Youth activities: “Our community centers don’t stay open when we need them open to provide activities and training.”

Kenneth L. “Truck” Casey

Speed bumps: “In Gulfport, it’s illegal to have speed bumps in residential areas.”

Engaging with the community: “I ride around every day and I engage with people on a day-to-day basis.”

Crime: “Crime is kind of on a down-slide right now and we need to keep it that way.”

Ward 6

Republican challenger in Ward 6 Ron Harmon did not attend the forum. Incumbent Robert “R. Lee” Flowers, also a Republican, shared his top three issues with the attendees.

Dedeaux Road project: “This is one of the most important roads in our city.”

Drainage for the whole city: “This isn’t just a Ward 6 problem, it’s all over the city.”

Garbage collection: “We are looking at some solutions for our garbage pickup problems.”

Ward 2

In Ward 2, Democrats Robert Williams and Francis Alainia Robinson attended the event. Republicans Ron. P Roland, Ricky E. Dombrowski, the incumbent, and Rebecca M. Barrow were not present.

One of the questions they were asked was about the condition of Courthouse Road.

“We already have the funds to complete the project,” Williams said. “We need to take that money and put in some sidewalks on Courthouse Road.”

“I know their is funding available,” Robinson said. “Right now our kids don’t have sidewalks, they don’t have a crosswalk and they are walking in the dirt.”

Ward 3

In Ward 3, incumbent Ella Holmes-Hines faces fellow Democrat Monica Croutch Walker. The Ward 3 candidates were asked an audience question about the look of North Gulfport.

“We pick up trash and we need you to pick up trash,” Holmes-Hines said. “We’ve had people say they aren’t going to pick up trash, but, yes, we are going to have to pick up trash.”

“The beautification in Ward 3, part of it is going to be lighting,” Croutch Walker said. “We do have to be involved and take actions ourselves and taker pride in our community.”