The journey begins

Congratulations to our newly elected mayor, Nick Cox. Here’s wishing him success from day one, which will officially begin with his swearing-in ceremony Thursday, Dec. 29. Of course we would be remiss if we didn’t remind the new Hizzonner that swearing-at season begins immediately following his final “I do.”

In your obedient servant’s humble opinion, Mr. Cox has already taken an important couple of steps even before he steps into Minden’s leadership role. We read in this very WPJ an interview with HizIncoming where he gave hints about the shape of his administration. Particularly intriguing is the idea that he intends to be mayor. Nothing else.

He plans to resign his District 8 seat on the Webster Parish Police Jury, where he also holds the vice-president’s post. It’s a job he has held since 2016. Mr. Cox was well aware that it was necessary to step down due to the state’s dual office holding edict. More importantly, it quickly slams the lid on whispers that he might try to continue to serve on the parish panel. Sources say that was never a consideration by the new mayor.

Mr. Cox  also will give up appointed posts that went along with his jury seat, and plans to resign from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission. That, in particular, is a very smart move on his part. Remaining on the tourism board would have been tricky. Each time the Commission asked the city for money or special consideration, the mayor’s agenda may have been questioned. That’s a potential headache avoided. 

We were particularly interested in Mr. Cox’s comments on what he sees facing the Minden he will be leading. Concerning the city’s future, he says we’re talking “needs versus wants,” and believes the most important thing is stability. Agree. In many areas.

One event on the immediate calendar that could define stability in Minden city government is most likely garnering much of the soon-to-be mayor’s attention. Runoff elections will be held Saturday, December 10 for city council slots in Districts A and C, and a pair of incumbents who have been part of, shall we say, a rather contentious council are running for their political lives.

District A incumbent Wayne Edwards meets Carlton Myles while Vincen “Cheese” Bradford hopes to defend the C seat he holds against Latasha Mitchell. Friends in those areas tell us both races are more than close, with the past four years casting a very long shadow. But, those same folks say, one cannot misunderestimate the power of the cloth factor. Those who are selected by the select are often elected.

There’s a possibility that Minden could see four brand new council members if challengers sweep the runoffs. Newcomers Levon Thomas (B) and Andy Pendergrass (E) are in, giving the new mayor a pair of fresh attitudes (for now, unless the Gospel according to Gossip is accurate). If one of the two challengers wins, the mayor will still have a chance to mold a majority.

A stable council would be a refreshing change after four years of contention. Who knows. We might even see a unanimous vote to adopt minutes of previous meetings, or consenting votes to accept free (grant) money. It’s obvious from reading his interview that all Mr. Cox asks is for the wagon of government have all wheels turning in the same direction. Some disagreement is expected, but not dissent only for dissent’s sake.

Our new mayor’s campaign centered on working together. From his interview, we learned he’s visiting city hall and talking with employees. We’re sure he’s also listening. That is a trait that promotes unity and it will be beneficial, especially for a new employee. 

In many ways, Minden’s ship of government has been leaking. It’s not floundering yet, but it needs all hands pulling at the oars. An old proverb tells us a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Mr. Cox appears to be taking that first step. We’ll know soon if it’s in the right direction.

— Pat Culverhouse