WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - While everyone is focused right now on next week's heated congressional election, another hot race is shaping up in Waveland. Three candidates are vying for the city's top job.
Incumbent Mayor Tommy Longo will face long time city Fire Chief David Garcia during the primary next week. The winner of that race will face Robert Hincks in the December 7th general election.
Garcia said he's knocked on hundreds of doors over the past few months and has gotten an ear full from Waveland residents.
"I hear it every day: It's time for a change," Garcia said. "The people are very dissatisfied, they feel we were moving forward at the beginning after Katrina. They feel now, everything's kind of come to a halt."
Garcia has worked for the city for 36 years, and served as fire chief since 1986. He believes the administrative skills he's developed over the years will help him take the city into a new direction, if elected as mayor.
"One of the most important things they want to see is less lawsuits and more transparency in government. It's all because of the executive sessions. People are tired of it. They want to hear from the elected officials what's going on in their government."
Those lawsuits are a sore subject with incumbent Mayor Tommy Longo.
"There's actually only three lawsuits that are active," Longo said. "Anybody can sue the city."
One lawsuit involved a condo developer who was given approval to build, then told later he couldn't build after all. The developer of the Magnolia Project sued the city and won.
"The Magnolia Project had absolutely nothing to do with the mayor or the mayor's office," Longo said, defending himself. "The judge ruled that the Board of Aldermen approved the Magnolia Project. Had absolutely nothing to do with the mayor or his administration."
Mayor Longo believes he needs a fourth term to complete the city's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. He said the connections he's developed over the past 12 years are priceless.
"I picked up the phone and called George W. Bush. He's agreed to put his name and put his efforts behind economic development in the city of Waveland. Just anybody can't do that. We don't need to let these connections and this leadership go to waste. It's here for the citizens," Longo said.
Long time resident and retired elevator maintenance Supervisor Robert Hincks would also like a shot at Waveland's top job.
"I was a foreman at the early age of 20, ran seven or eight people in the group, and I know how to manage people," Hincks said. "I've been in sales and construction through the years."
Hincks said his leadership is just what the city needs right now.
"If you look around and see what shape that we're in, I think we need to bring dignity and respect back to this city, which we've lost in the past five or six years."
The voters of Waveland will have the ultimate say. Again, the city's primary race will be held on November 2nd; the general election will be December 7th.