Gulfport Mayor’s Corner: Candidate Qualifying

Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson

Gulfport Mayor Sam Henderson

Candidate qualifying for Gulfport City Council seats in Wards 1 and 3 began Monday Dec 4 and ends Monday Dec 11 at noon. In order to qualify, you must have resided for a minimum of one year in the ward you intend to represent, open a campaign bank account, receive ten signed petitions supporting your candidacy from residents of Gulfport and pay the $108 filing fee.

The election is Tuesday March 13, and the term of office is two years. If you are a thoughtful, reasonable, compassionate person who enjoys civic engagement, peer collaboration, research and problem solving then you may want to consider this path. Both the job and the campaign process require a thick skin, rational thinking, good communication, a willingness to listen and form opinions based on fact, and a great deal of patience and understanding.

It is a position paid by stipend ($10,800 annually), so clearly it is a task rooted in love for your community and not money. The City Clerk (2401 53rd St. S, Gulfport) can provide specific details on what steps you need to complete in order to qualify and have your name placed on the ballot.

As someone who has been on City Council for nine years, I can attest that it can be rewarding and frustrating, cooperative and contentious, enjoyable and difficult, thankless and satisfying. Local politics is not for the faint of heart, but it is very important work. People in these posts craft policy and make decisions that shape the city for years to come and affect the quality of life of fellow Gulfport residents. Our city needs strong, honest, capable, calm and considerate representation. If you think you are up to the challenge, then pick up a candidate packet from City Hall today, because the clock is ticking.

These posts aren’t meant to be inherited or passed on to cohorts, or simply given away because there are no challengers. They are meant to be elected, preferably from a broad field of candidates, by the voters of Gulfport. It is good to have choices. Put your name in the hat if you think you are up to this challenge. It is a phenomenal learning, working and service experience. Best of luck to you future public servants.

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