Quest For City Hall

As we begin election season Data News Weekly has launched the first in a series of Political Editions called “Quest For City Hall.”  These issues will editorialize and identify qualified candidates in the races for various elected offices. Also, we will speak to community leaders to help identify some of their main concerns and expectations as it relates to the future of our City as we stay true to our over 50-year mission and commitment at Data News Weekly as the People’s Paper.
As qualifying began the City saw many of our citizens ranging from incumbents; political veterans and newcomers to politics throw their hats into the ring for multiple municipal races as we kick off the political season leading to the October 14, 2017 primary and run-off election on November 18, 2017.
The Race for Mayor of New Orleans
As we near the end of eight years of Mitch Landrieu as Mayor, we see 18 candidates vying for the City’s highest office with four major candidates emerging to occupy the highest elected office in New Orleans from the large field of candidates to qualify the presumed frontrunners are as follows:
Michael Bagneris: A political veteran from the first African-American Mayor Ernest Dutch Morial and former longtime Civil District Judge Michael Bagneris is making his second run for mayor, having placed second in the last mayoral election against incumbent Mitch Landrieu.
Latoya Cantrell: Beginning her career in public service as community leader in her neighborhood of Broadmoor; today she is City Councilwoman representing District B who is choosing to forgo a reelection bid to run for Mayor of New Orleans.
Desiree Charbonnet: Making her run to become the first female Mayor of New Orleans would be another first for Charbonnet, who as Recorder of Mortgages, was the first woman elected to hold this post. Most recently, she’s been a judge on the Municipal Court Bench and recently resigned to run for the City’s highest office.
Troy Henry: This is his second run for mayor; where he first ran in 2010 he was defeated in a run-off by present Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Henry is a businessman who is a partner in the Sterling Farms chain of convenience stores and owner of several gas stations in addition to other business ventures.
18 Candidates Seeks the City’s Highest Office and Promises to Address a Range of Issues that Concerns Voters.
In the final tally 18 candidates qualified for the race for Mayor of New Orleans. This is the largest field the City’s seen since 2006 when embattled incumbent Ray Nagin rad against 22 opponents with only four candidates receiving more than 10,000 votes. In a runoff, he won against then Lt. Governor and current Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
As we look at this race through an historical lens, we see many of the problems today that’s been plaguing the City for many years. Crime, safety, economic and racial inequality and blight. In addition to quality of life issues, political corruption, lack of affordable housing and the preservation of culture and institutions particularly those of African-Americans under assault by those who do not appreciate nor understand their relevance and importance.
The Next Mayor and the Future of New Orleans
The next mayor must be someone who is a visionary who can get things done. And the public must not be swayed by simply rhetoric or feel that by simply electing someone of a certain race or gender is a step forward. We must begin to look at a victory from more than simply a symbolic standpoint, but of substance. Investigating and researching those who offer themselves up for service and determine who is best qualified to serve us the citizens and not special interest or in a worst-case scenario themselves.
The City post Katrina is changing in many ways and the next Mayor must be one who can be a bridge builder bringing people together. And while it is a step in the right direction, taking down monuments is not enough, when you look at the wide divide as it relates to racial equity in the City. We at Data News Weekly feels that this is an important election that will determine the direction of the City and who we will be moving forward. So, in our role as the “People’s Paper” we will provide information that will help our citizens in making informed choices when choosing our elected official moving forward.
The Power of the Ballot
Finally, we would like to remind the voters that you are the employer and those who are elected are the employees and their job is to serve the interest of the people; so, ask hard questions, get involved and realize that the ballot is a powerful tool to help shape our future. Remember, it is you who control the outcome of the elections either by participating or non-participating and that elections have consequence that could impact you. With election season beginning we ask you to get informed, and get involved in shaping the agenda of our City by electing officials that will be accountable to all the people of the City regardless of race, income or zip code. This can lead to the collective steps forward that can help a great City become greater, not just for a few but for all of the citizens of the Crescent City.

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