by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher
Just when you thought you were safe from having to deal with another election (think music from the movie Jaws), voters will now have to move from national and state elections to municipal/city elections.
Although many Americans are suffering from the never ending malady of “election fatigue”, they must once again stay engaged until the 2021 municipal elections have been completed.
Think I’m kidding? Here’s the schedule for the 2021 municipal elections:
Qualifying Dates January 1 – February 6, 2021
1st Primary: April 6, 2021
Runoff: April 27, 2021
General: June 8, 2021
With the exception of Pass Christian Mayor Chipper McDermott, the Gazebo Gazette has confirmed that all of the current list of incumbent City leaders will be running again in 2021.
That includes Ward 1 Alderman Buddy Clarke, Ward 2 Alderwoman Regina Charlot, Ward 3 Alderman Anthony Hall, Ward 4 Alderman Victor Pickich and Alderman at Large Kenny Torgeson. Alderman Hall was elected in 2004, Aldermen Clarke, Pickich and Torgeson were elected in 2013 and Alderwoman Charlot was elected in 2017.
During the last election held in 2017, ALL five aldermen ran unopposed in the General Election. Mayor McDermott remains undecided on whether or not he will seek re-election in 2021.
The question in many residents minds as well as some potential candidates minds is, “will Chipper run again or has he had enough of public service?” If in the end the Mayor decides not to run, a huge leadership vacuum will be created.
Mayor McDermott took over the reigns of the City during one of the most challenging times in the City’s history, Hurricane Katrina. He’s also successfully navigated The Pass through the BP oil spill and countless other challenges. If the beloved Mayor chooses not to run again, the million dollar question is who is going to step up to become the new leader of Pass Christian?
You’d think that a City with approximately 6,000 residents, that more citizens would be interested in public service. One has to wonder why more folks aren’t stepping up to vie for these offices?
Although the pays not great, the opportunity to serve our community is great. Is it apathy, lack of funding or some other reason, who really knows?
However, there’s at least one person that’s decided to run in 2021 and that’s Ward 1 resident Betty Sparkman.
Sparkman touts her many years of public service including her contributions to the Pass Christian community: Art in the Pass Chair, Pass Christian Mainstreet Secretary and Gone Fishing Ministries Volunteer. Her main issues include stronger communication between the City and it’s residents, improved sidewalks and bike paths, diversity on boards and commissions and greater partnership with volunteer organizations.
Although rumors and gossip abounds about other residents that “may” run for office, at this point that’s all that they are, rumors and gossip.
Stayed tuned to the Gazebo Gazette for future updates on the 2021 Pass Christian City Election.