SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Early voting begins in a matter of days. One candidate who wants to convince early voters to cast her name for Shreveport's next mayor is longtime resident Anna Marie Arpino.
Arpino said one of the many projects she would tackle first if she were mayor is the Interstate 49 project.
"Allendale has not seen economic prosperity, in my opinion, for 35 years. This could be a win for Allendale," Arpino said.
"Yes, it's a state project, and I'm running for mayor, but as mayor I'm not going to sit in a little box," she said. "Another candidate said that's a state project, and it's not his. But I'm not going to sit in a box. I'm outside the box, and the fact is anything it takes to make our city grow, to make it what it used to be or better, I'm going to work with it."
Arpino said if the city can see to it that the 3.8 mile section of I-49 through the Allendale neighborhood gets finished, Shreveport would be the largest distribution city in a 600 mile radius. In turn, Aprino said that would bring new businesses to the area and build the community back to the city she remembers.
"In 50 years, I've seen what's torn down our city," she said.
Now, she wants to be the one to fix it up. Arpino, a degreed accountant, spent time as the city's accountant, a human resources director and a minister. She said those are all qualifications she believes are necessary for the next mayor.
"We've never had a degreed accountant sitting in the mayor's chair and, in my opinion, that's one of the problems we've had," Arpino added.
Arpino said she has looked over the City of Shreveport's 256-page financial statement and has dissected each department. She has come up with a plan to correct the city's biggest problems. One of those she said is of the biggest concern is the waste of funds by outsourcing jobs to other companies when there are city employees to do the work.
"It is costing us as city taxpayers. The city saves all that money, number one. Number two, the employees at the city are working for a better amount of pay and adding to the tax base, and number three we have a way of generating more funds for the actual budget revisions currently in place," she explained.
Arpino said she has not accepted $1 of fundraising money, and the only money she has used was a $358 loan that she used to register to run for the seat.
"I don't believe that people's votes should be bought. I don't think it's about who has the biggest lines or who has the most money," she added.