Ward 1 Voters Must Choose Between Biloxi Incumbents - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

06/06/05

Ward 1 Voters Must Choose Between Biloxi Incumbents

At council meetings, Arlene Canaan and George Lawrence work together, trying to improve the city of Biloxi. On Tuesday, they become campaign rivals in a winner take all election.

You see, when Biloxi redrew its voting boundaries, Canaan and Lawrence ended up in the same ward.

Biloxi's Ward 3 councilwoman Arlene Canaan has been answering campaign phone calls for what seems like a year. Actually, 11 months.

That's when Canaan won a special election, and joined the council. Now, the retired banker is lining up her supporters for what should be a much tougher election.

Biloxi's newly drawn ward one pits Canaan against fellow incumbent George Lawrence.

Canaan spent her final day of campaigning in her kitchen, pouring over her notes.

"Everybody on this list I feel very comfortable with," she said. "I feel like I'll do the better job. And I hope they'll vote for me."

Canaan lives on Benachi Avenue, south of the railroad tracks. Her opponent walked door-to-door on the same street north of the tracks.

George Lawrence believes he deserves a second term in office "because I'm the man who gets things done."

Lawrence is the current ward one councilman.

"And I'm looking to do four more years," he told one potential voter.

"A lot of things need to be accomplished. A lot of things need to be done. And we're willing to get out there and do it. I want the job. I love doing this. I like working with the people. So I'm going to keep doing what I do to get back in."

Canaan took the same approach on this election eve.

"I think this is the most difficult election in the city," she confessed.

"The city does have two good choices. So I don't think the city's going to lose either way."

Here's what we already know about the makeup of Biloxi's next city council. It will have at least two new members. Incumbent Eric Dickey lost his seat in last month's runoff. So ward two voters will be electing a new councilman Tuesday.

Ed Gemmill has already won the newly created ward six seat.

by Brad Kessie

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