GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Former longtime State Senator Billy Hewes III is unopposed in his race to become Gulfport's next mayor. His only opponent Democrat Billy Barnes withdrew from the race late last week.
Hewes, a Republican, said he's honored to have the chance to lead his hometown at what he calls an "exciting" and "pivotal time."
Sitting in his empty and now unnecessary campaign headquarters on Courthouse Road, Hewes said, "I look forward to working with the council and provide some more visionary leadership for the future."
The Gulfport native and father of four who married his high school sweetheart, Paula, was taught at a young age what public service means.
"I think it was a natural progression. I was always involved in the community, our family's got a history of doing it. So growing up you were involved in the community and responsible and it sounds cliche' but try to make a difference and leave places better than you found them."
Hewes feels his reputation and contacts from his 20 years in the state legislature will serve him and the City of Gulfport well.
"It's very helpful to pick up the phone and call the chairman, or the governor on a first name basis and tell him what our problems are and get their ear. I think that's going to be crucial as we move into the next round of RESTORE Act monies to follow."
And with RESTORE Act money, he has big plans to capitalize on the vibrancy and growth already happening in the I-10 corridor, downtown, Jones Park, the State Port at Gulfport and beyond.
"Another thing we're looking at in 2017 is our bicentennial, Mayor Schloegel is already working on that. Centennial Plaza was created to celebrate our centennial and because of the war it never took place, so it is a fitting spot to really capitalize on our bicentennial to be a host city. I'd like to be the host city."
Gulfport's next mayor Billy Hewes is not only ready, but honored to guide the city he loves into what he calls "a bright and limitless future."
"It's been a privilege to serve in the past and it is going to be an tremendous honor for myself for my family. And we again are proud of my family's impact on this community, but our work is never done."
Billy Hewes will be sworn in as Gulfport's next Mayor July 1, 2013.