By Renee Johnson - email
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Several coast cities elected new mayors Tuesday. Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Gautier, Moss Point and Lucedale will all see new leadership at city hall.
And while some, like Gulfport's George Schloegel, are new to politics, others are not. Lucedale Mayor-elect Doug Lee has actually served as mayor before.
Les Fillingame will take over the top job in Bay St. Louis, where Eddie Favre has been mayor for the last 20 years. He told WLOX News, "It's like replacing a legend."
"We start tomorrow on the transition," Fillingame said Tuesday night. "We're going to finish the recovery in good order. We're going to finish all the recovery projects within the year. We'll have our community facility project started within that time and have most of them completed in the next two years."
Fillingame is optimistic, talking about both the challenges and opportunities ahead for his small town.
"This city will be completely reborn within four years. It's a time for tremendous optimism. We've got tremendous opportunity with the recovery dollars we have on our plate right now."
In Moss Point, Democrat Aneice Liddell became the city's first female mayor. She said the historic victory shows that Moss Point is ready for change.
"I have tried to be a positive role model. I have tried to stand up for the things that are right. I have tried to consider all sides. We tried to make the best possible decisions when we can. I think the people want someone they can trust, someone who is going to look out for the best interest of the city as a whole," Liddell said.
Tommy Fortenberry's decision to give up his job as a Gautier police officer to run for mayor paid off. He handily beat his Independent opponent Edward Harding with 1,428 votes to Harding's 216.
"I believe the people in Gautier have spoken, and I accept their charge. And I'm looking forward to seeing the city of Gautier move forward. We have almost a new council. It's a council that I know that I can work with. And I just see brighter days ahead for the city of Gautier," Fortenberry said.
In Gulfport, Republican George Schloegel also easily defeated Democrat Clyde Williams. Schloegel, the retired head of Hancock Bank, entered the race after incumbent Brent Warr decided not to seek re-election.
He credited the volunteers for making his short campaign so effective.
"Well, we had a great team. All the volunteers, they won. They worked real hard to turn out the vote, and we got a good cross-section of the vote. It came from all aspects of the city and from all people, and it meant an awful lot to us. It was the hard work of volunteers that made the difference," Schloegel said.
Pascagoula also has a new mayor, Robbie Maxwell, who ran unopposed.
Click here to see the complete list of election results from across south Mississippi.