The Citizen Election Board is made up of five volunteers who reside in the City of Gulfport, one from each of the four wards and one for citywide perspective. To be eligible for the board, among other criteria, members could not be running for Gulfport City Council in the 2021 election, could not endorse any candidate prior to meeting the candidates and watching the debate on February 11. Each candidate had a half-hour interview with the board, and all members of the board attended the debate.
The board would like to emphasize that these decisions were incredibly difficult to make with such a talented field of candidates. However, after careful deliberation, the board is recommending the following candidates:
Ward 2: Mike Bauer
Dr. Bauer impressed the board with his eye toward Gulfport’s future. He espoused views of engaging younger generations and outlined his goals of fiscal responsibility and environmental sustainability. We appreciated his enthusiasm and valued his extensive background working with governmental and tribal entities.
It should not go unsaid that we were also very impressed with the incumbent, Councilmember Christine Anne Brown, and her contributions to the City of Gulfport. She has been a valued member of the council for eight years, and whether or not she remains the incumbent after the 2021 election, the board is sure that Councilmember Brown will continue to be a strong civic force in Gulfport.
Ward 4: Ian O’Hara
Mr. O’Hara presented some very simple solutions to some ongoing problems in the city, particularly by his desire to create a streamlined approach to complying with the city’s code and zoning requirements. The board also appreciated Mr. O’Hara’s willingness to communicate with citizens and to examine questions citizens may have in a new light.
As with Ward 2, this was also a difficult decision in Ward 4. Incumbent Councilmember Michael Fridovich is a straight-shooter with working relationships with several local boards and well-earned endorsements; and, as we all know, connections matter. Mr. Richard Fried also had some great ideas regarding installing solar panels on government buildings and is very passionate about his cause.
The board appreciates the opportunity that the Gabber has given us to participate in this meaningful civic engagement. We also thank the candidates for their time and insight, and wish them all the best of luck.
The 2021 Citizen Election Board
Robert Barto, Ward 4
Eric Kellen Espinoza, Ward 3
Amanda Hersem, Ward 2
Karen Love, Ward 1
Marissa Stewart, Citywide