The three Minden Mayoral candidates had a chance to speak on their platforms, visions and goals for the City of Minden, touching on subjects ranging from economic development, juvenile crime and dysfunctional leadership. While the potential future mayors agreed on some topics, such as the need for unity, they had a range of different ideas on how they were going to reach that goal.
The Greater Minden Chamber held the first of two of their political forums at the Northwest Technical Community College Monday evening. This forum was for candidates for Minden Mayor and those running with opposition on the School Board, which were Districts 4, 6 and 8.
All candidates running for Mayor of Minden were present and participated which included Nick Cox, Billy Mills and Terika Walker.
Melissa Fox, Court Administrator at 26th Judicial Court, was the moderator and began the forum by allowing each candidate 2 minutes for an opening statement followed by the first question of the evening; a three-part question. One part of that question included, “What is one of the major factors that contributed to you running for Mayor of Minden?”
Nick Cox answered by stressing his lifelong residency and his plans for the future of our city.
He said, “I am as from Minden as you can be. I am as Minden as they come. Minden is my home. I never have left, and I never will leave. It’s about our future and our kids. This is our future, and this is our home.”
Billy Mills, who moved to the city 16 years ago, said that he felt a calling from God to serve the people of Minden.
He said, “I want to see Minden flourish to be the city that God intended for it to be. I want Minden to be the best city that it could possibly be, and I believe the divine hand of God can do that for all of us.”
Terika Walker explained her experience on the current city council made her aware of some things that need to be worked on and addressed for our city to move forward.
She said, “The major factor that impacted my candidacy was I sat on the council, and I know that Minden has an enormous amount of potential, but we have to have the leadership that’s going to groom and foster that potential. Minden should be a city where everyone is proud to call home.”
The second question mentioned unity and how each candidate mentioned the idea of unity in all their platforms. All candidates did agree that unity is needed, and that the city would not be able to move forward without it. They did have differentiating opinions on what the most prominent issue the city was facing currently.
Walker said, “I can’t really say what the most important issue is. There are several issues that we need to address. The community is so divided and so we need to find a way to be able to bridge the gap between the communities; black, white, young, or old. We need to have those conversations so that we can start to unify.”
Cox said, “My top issues come from talking to the citizens. Number one and number two kind of rival one another and that is the utility bills and the second one is safety. There is no worse than feeling unsafe in your own home. You are successful if you have skills, but you also need tools to get things done. As mayor I want to make sure that our first responders have the tools, they need to get things done.”
Cox also stated his concern on the decline in our population.
Mills said,” I think that my first agenda is to address the dysfunctional leadership of Minden, Louisiana because when people see leadership being dysfunctional and not in unity people in the city will begin to feel like that is all right for them to be dysfunctional as well.”
He agreed the utilities were also a critical issue.
The forum also included questions on experience with budgets, finance, and audits with all candidates having a range of experience with each.
In their closing statements, the candidates had only one minute to make a final impact on the audience in attendance and those who joined the live stream through the Chamber Facebook page.
Cox closed by expressing his belief that we are all family even if we do not always act like it.
He said, “I want us all to look back on this time period that we are in right now and say that we didn’t know what the future held, but it sure has been good. I want us all to prosper. I have to believe that Minden’s best days are ahead of us.”
Mills finished by saying a lot of the issues we are facing could be resolved if we were just mindful of the needs of others.
He said, “We are all in this together. I am one man for one Minden. We can and will succeed in the betterment of our city. Trust me, I will pledge my dedication of servitude to this city, and I will be at your service. I will use every God given ability that I have and with his divine help we will see progress in Minden.”
Walker said, “I have not made any open promises and if you review my platform and the issues that I plan to tackle, those are attainable issues. As mayor of Minden, my vision for the city of Minden is on unifying the community by working together to make sure that all citizens have a voice.” She went into further detail regarding her plans for the economic future of the city and community partnerships she will try to establish if elected.
If you could not attend, you can still access this video on the Greater Minden Chamber Facebook page.
A story breaking down the school board forum will run in tomorrow’s edition of the journal.
Next Monday the candidates for Minden City Council and Chief of Police will participate in the second round of questions at the NW Technical College at 6 p.m.
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