MAYORAL PRIMARY: Learn more about Waveland’s Republican mayoral candidates
WAVELAND, Miss. (WLOX) - Waveland’s mayoral and Ward 1 alderman primaries are coming up quickly; voters will head to the polls Tuesday, October 4.
Four Republican candidates are vying for the mayoral title: Jeremy Burke, Charles Piazza, Paul “PT” Taylor and Jay Trapani. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
Jeremy Burke has served as a Waveland alderman for 8 years. He has a Master of Science in Economic Development from the University of Southern Mississippi. Burke is a Certified Municipal Official in the Mississippi Municipal League and a local small business owner.
If elected mayor, his main objectives are as follows:
- Multi-phase economic development plan
- Develop opportunities for first-time home buyers
- Digitize and streamline city hall services
- Strengthen relationships with state leadership
“I am running for Mayor because I want my children, your children, and your grandchildren to be proud to call Waveland home. I want to give them the option to be able to move back to Waveland when they become adults. Waveland has all the ingredients to be the best city on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to call home. Waveland has a culture and assets that most cities can only dream of,” Burke said. “I’m not running for Mayor of Waveland because I need a job. I’m running for Mayor of Waveland to serve the great people of Waveland.
He continued by saying he believes in serving others and finding lasting solutions to problems.
“The job of Waveland Mayor will help me give back to Waveland on a larger scale,” Burke said. “Being 36 years old with children still at home, I feel I have more motivation and skin in the game that will make me work harder for Waveland to be successful for future generations.”
Charles Piazza is a lifelong resident of Waveland and a graduate of St. Stanislaus, class of 1977. He attended Pearl River Community College and earned an associate arts degree. Piazza says he has worked in shipyards from Pascagoula to New Orleans, and for the last 17 years has been employed by a government contractor. He has served as Ward 4 alderman for four terms, beginning in 1998, and he is the current Ward 4 alderman.
If elected mayor, his main objectives are as follows:
- Improve relations between City Hall and Waveland residents
- Work hand-in-hand with Waveland Police to increase daily neighborhood patrol
- Create neighborhood watch programs citywide to curb recent rise in crime
- Ensure streets and drainage are properly maintained, pushing forward with citywide drainage projects, including Jackson Marsh drainage
- Bring youth programs to Waveland by utilizing city parks, and work to bring youth and family-oriented recreational venues to the city
- Seek investors and businesses to rebuild Coleman Avenue and beachfront areas
- Ensure the Highway 90 business corridor continues to grow and prosper
- Work hand-in-hand with the Code Enforcement Office to rid Waveland of blighted properties, and force absentee landlords to keep their tenements in a good state of repair
After listing his objectives, Piazza provided this promise:
“Most importantly, I will be available to all the residents of Waveland seven days a week,” Piazza said. “My door will be open to you at any time, and you may contact me at 228-304-0345. I will always remember I am a city employee, and I work for the residents of Waveland.”
Paul “PT” Taylor
Paul “PT” Taylor has been a patrol supervisor for two different agencies, and he owns two businesses. He said in a previous interview with The Sea Coast Echo that these positions have given him the skills and knowledge he needs to “create and implement plans for improvement, communicate needs, ideas, and solutions, delegate tasks to qualified individuals, work with a diverse group of people, and ensure quality work and performance is being done to reach a common goal.”
He lives in the “Gateway” Subdivision in Waveland, and his favorite places to spend time around the city are Buccaneer State Park and the beachfront.
Taylor says two of the main issues facing Waveland are blighted properties and the loss and lack of businesses. If elected mayor, this is how he says he would address these issues:
- Get community input on the types of business residents would like to see in Waveland
- Meet with current business owners to see what may be holding them back from being successful in Waveland and/or what’s preventing businesses from coming to Waveland
- Meet with economic developers to determine how to gain more successful businesses in Waveland
- Meet with state officials in Jackson to determine available grants
- Make sure Waveland is writing and receiving any grants available to help draw business to the area
He also says he would like to see more community involvement, festivals and business growth in Waveland that would appeal to all ages and backgrounds.
“My favorite thing about Waveland is the potential it has to be an amazing city. I grew up here, and I have raised my family here. I hope my children will always call this home and will find it a great place to raise their families,” Taylor told The Sea Coast Echo. “I have been in Waveland for the best and worst of times. I have seen it flourish, crash, and try to rebuild. I want to continue to rebuild this amazing city so it reaches its peak of potential that will provide the resources, commerce and opportunities for generations to come.”
Jay Trapani and his wife, Colleen, have lived in Waveland for the past 21 years. He says he fell in love with Waveland as a young boy and spent as many weekends and summers as he could with his family there.
“With over 35 years of experience managing people and businesses, as well as a degree in Management and Marketing, I have the necessary qualifications to provide leadership in fiscal matters, public affairs, contract negotiations, and city planning,” Trapani said. “These experiences will allow me to lead Waveland as I work with the citizens to build a bright future for our city.”
If elected mayor, Trapani says he will work to:
- Increase police and fire department staffing
- Require ongoing maintenance of Waveland roads and drainage
- Reduce the cost of flood insurance by reducing the CRS rating
- Create a Strategic Plan for Economic Growth
- Improve the Highway 90 and Highway 603 corridors
- Develop more recreational opportunities for Waveland’s youth
“I believe that I am the candidate with a unique perspective on how to not only lead Waveland during the next four years, but to develop a plan and a culture of leadership that will be in place for generations to come,” Trapani said.
The Republican Ward 1 Alderman primary election also takes place Tuesday, October 4. Below is a list of candidates vying for this position:
- Roger Estopinal
- Rhonda Aime Gamble
- Bob Martin
- Henry Tebbe
Other parties’ mayoral candidates and other Waveland wards don’t require primary elections, due to only one candidate per party running in each case. Here is a list of the candidates in each party:
- Democrat mayoral candidate: Nikki Tingstrom
- Independent mayoral candidate: Micah Tinkler
- Independent Ward 1 alderman candidate: Cheryl Crosby Tenney
- Libertarian Ward 1 alderman candidate: Matthew Adams
- Republican Ward 2 alderman candidate: Bobby Richardson (Incumbent)
- Democrat Ward 2 alderman candidate: Clarence Harris
- Republican Ward 3 alderman candidate: Shane Lafontaine
- Republican Ward 4 alderman candidate: Gary “Catmando” Catalano
- Libertarian Ward 4 alderman candidate: Lynn T. Smith
- Independent Ward 4 alderman candidate: Jeremy Clark
Want more WLOX news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Copyright 2022 WLOX. All rights reserved.