Biloxi NAACP hosts mayoral forum on big questions

Biloxi NAACP hosts mayoral forum on big questions

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Residents got another chance Saturday night to meet the Biloxi mayoral candidates and ask questions.

This one was hosted by the Biloxi branch of the NAACP.

The Martin Luther King Municipal Building in Biloxi was crammed with about 50 people ready to ask and ready to listen. And residents don't have much time left to decide on a candidate.

The mayoral election is April 28. The winner is fulfilling the remainder of A.J. Holloway's term, which ends July 1, 2017.

For leaders of the Biloxi NAACP chapter, Saturday's forum was a chance to find who measures up to the big questions.

"East Biloxi was ground zero when Katrina hit here and 10 years later, we're basically where we were 10 years ago," said James Crowell, president of the Biloxi NAACP. "And we're looking for a leader who's going to have some interest in trying to revive this old part of Biloxi and bring it back where it was in its original state."

Crowell has been through about seven mayoral forums in his tenure.

"We feel that the candidate or this new mayor is going to have to think outside of the box," he said. "In the sense of going out and trying to bring an economy here into Biloxi, not wait till the companies come in and develop what they want to develop."

The only candidate not attending was Victor Ainsworth, who had a scheduling conflict.

Beyond the handshaking and political posturing, each candidate was given a minute and a half to answer questions, including the first and likely most important: race relations.

Answers ranged from building relationships and trust not just after an incident, but in the long-term, to opening eyes and doors to everybody's needs.

That is something in Gordon Jackson's wheelhouse.

"We're looking for an all-inclusive mayor," said Jackson, the chairman of the chapter's political action committee. "A mayor that's going to realize the asset and embrace the asset of every citizen of every community in Biloxi and is willing to work full partnership."

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