SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
The seven candidates to become the next mayor of Shreveport include an accountant, an evangelist, an educator, a legislator, a lawyer, a businesswoman and a retiree. All of them qualified to be on the November 4 ballot. Here is a look back at when candidates made their big announcements and explained why they wanted to run.
Patrick Williams became the first candidate to throw his hat in the ring to become the next mayor of Shreveport. The Democratic State Representative announced his candidacy back on January 5. He told a supportive crowd that day, "Let's progress together. We will win in 2014."
"Once I'm mayor, we all are mayor, whether people like it or not," declared Shreveport evangelist Melvin Gerard Slack, Jr., just one day after Williams' announcement. The military veteran is the leader of Nationwide Ministries and made a campaign promise on day one: "We're going to have at least one mayor forum once a month, for the entire city to come together."
"I'm a leader of action," announced Democrat Ollie Tyler as she jumped into the race four months later, on May 20 of this year. Back in 2003, Tyler became the first woman and first African-American to serve as superintendent of the Caddo Parish public school system. During her announcement speech, Tyler promised to utilize her leadership abilities if elected: "To create an atmosphere of hope, pride and excitement."
"I can provide this city ethical leadership," explained political newcomer and Shreveport native Victoria Provenza two months later. That's when she announced her intention to run for mayor as an independent. Surrounded by friends, family and supports back on July 6, she touted her skills outside the political arena to see the city through its challenges. "I have the skills in the corporate world to bring those to fruition."
"Shreveport is not a perfect city," began Democratic Shreveport City Councilman Sam Jenkins on August 15, in his explanation of why he decided to run for mayor. It ended months of speculation after he initially postponed his announcement, earlier in the year. Jenkins vowed to tackle the city's challenges. "But Shreveport has a great foundation for the future."
Since qualifying started on Wednesday, August 20, there have now been two surprise entries into the race. The first is local accountant and business owner Anna Marie Arpino of Shreveport, who qualified for the race on Thursday as an independent. In 2011, she ran for a seat in the Louisiana State House of Representatives. In a phone conversation, Arpino said as the chief executive of the city she would focus on improving Shreveport's finances and crumbling infrastructure.
Then, just 21 minutes before qualifying ended, at 4:09 p.m., on Friday, August 22, the Caddo Clerk of Court's election office confirmed that James "Jim" Crowley has become the seventh and final mayoral candidate to qualify for the race. Crowley is a retired former teacher and a former Caddo Parish Police Juror from 1979-'85. Crowley has also run for statewide office in the past, once for Louisiana Insurance Commissioner and most recently for Lt. Governor in 2010.
If none of the candidates receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the November 4 election, the top two vote-getters will face off in a runoff election on December 6.