PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - With less than a week until next Tuesday’s special election for Pascagoula’s mayor, the three candidates vying for the spot made another push for votes Thursday morning.
Just a day after a town hall meeting at the VFW Post, the candidates came together again, this time for a mayoral forum hosted by the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.
People packed the room for a chance to hear from the three candidates: Dr. Steve Demetropoulos, former councilman Burt Hill, and recreation commission member Chris Grace.
“I hope from this first part that you can project that I had experience and that I can do something moving forward that would beneficial for the city,” said candidate Dr. Steve Demetropoulos.
“After Katrina, I could have sold my house, left it, abandoned it or whatever, because it was devasted. I chose to rebuild and stay here in Pascagoula because this is where my passion is,” said candidate Burt Hill.
“I’ve worked in all the industries. Through the port, the shipyard, the dealerships, so I got a lot of experience with how Pascagoula operates,” said candidate Chris Grace.
The first several questions of the forum focused on Pascagoula’s population decline. All three candidates agree repopulating the Flagship City will be a top goal for them if elected.
“The reason that’s important is because when they live here, there’s a multiplier effect of the money that they put back into the community. So it’s not enough just to work here. We want people to live here, so everything has to work together to support that one goal,” Demetropoulos said.
“They come during the day for business, but we also want them to come during the weekend, and enjoy the fishing, and every little thing we have that’s offered with the parks and rec department, and of course the other different industries in Pascagoula," Grace said.
“We’ve got plenty of people coming here to work every evening Monday through Friday. The population grows by 6,000-7,000. Chevron and Ingalls bring in a lot of employees, but they don’t live here. We’ve got to entice those people to live here in Pascagoula," Hill said.
The candidates also answered questions from the crowd on litter, commercial development and taxes.
The special election is Tuesday, Feb. 11.
Whoever is elected will replace Dane Maxwell, who took office in January as a public service commissioner.