Gautier mayoral candidates stump for votes

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - From shaking hands to waving signs, Gautier mayoral candidates and political newcomers Tommy Fortenberry and Edward Harding are out promoting their names and their goals to hundreds of Gautier citizens.

Fortenberry is a Republican and a former Gautier police officer.  He says if elected mayor he would work to raise the pay for city workers and first responders.

"When you pay people well, it's an incentive for people staying with that department. We are losing so many good police officers and firemen to other cities," Fortenberry said.

Harding is an Independent. He wants more money to go to supporting disabled and elderly people, because he believes both groups are being forgotten in Gautier.

"I would like to see to it that they get $600 from my salary once a year to provide for their needs," Harding said.

Attracting more lucrative business to city is a plan both candidates happen to agree on. They say Gautier needs to offer a better quality of life to residents to help increase the sales tax revenue.

"I would like to develop a good economic plan. Hire an economic developer that would go out and aggressively seek after these businesses," Fortenberry said.

"Let's try to get rid of the drugs first. Second, let's try to fix up these plazas, and I do believe people would start putting in their businesses," Harding said.

Each candidate is counting on strong platforms to secure enough votes to win.

"Declare our independence and answer to no party," said Harding.

"I am not running for this position just to have the mayor in front of my name. I want this position because I genuinely do care about the city of Gautier," Fortenberry said.

The general election is Tuesday, June 2nd.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.