Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mayor Longo Thanks Hoosiers

11/8 Longo Wins Primary
He'll face two challengers
By RYAN LaFONTAINE
rlafontaine@sunherald.com
WAVELAND - There was no need for expensive, touch-screen voting machines here Tuesday.
Instead, Democratic voters used paper ballots in the primary election to give incumbent Mayor Tommy Longo the party's support in the Dec. 5 general election for the city's top office.
"I'm very humbled and appreciative for the vote of confidence from the citizens," Longo said. "We've made positive strides (in Katrina recovery) every day and together we are going to see this thing through."
According to complete but unofficial returns from Tuesday's primary, Longo won the party's backing with 51 percent of the vote, beating former alderman Milton Bernard, who garnered 30 percent, and Joan Coleman, who scooped up 18 percent.
In an election filled with uncertainty over voter turnout and how post-Katrina voters would react at the polls, Longo said election night was hardly a walk in the park, especially since he had little time to campaign.
"Every election is tough," he said. "The opponents were all good people, but unfortunately this is not the opportune time to hold an election, because we go to work again early tomorrow morning rebuilding Waveland."
For the most part, the mayor's camp broke up about a half-hour after the tally was announced. There were no late-night victory celebrations.
After visiting with reporters and thanking a few of his closest supporters, Longo and his wife and children headed home.
He was scheduled to be awake shortly after sunrise this morning and on a plane to Washington, where he will lobby for additional funding for AmeriCorps, a group knee-deep in recovery in Waveland and dozens of other towns in the storm zone.
There's hardly time for door-knocking and cold-calling to drum up support for the Dec. 5 general election, Longo said, because most of his schedule is filled with recovery work.
But the mayor said he would welcome a debate or community forums with the two mayoral challengers, Republican Craig Cameron and independent Santo Saucier.
"I would love to do that," Longo said. "As soon as I get back from Washington, let's have a debate."
Cameron, who hopes to become only the second Republican to hold the city's top office, won the GOP nomination with 62 percent of the vote over William "Wild Bill" LaPrine.
Though Cameron's 62 percent may seem like substantial support heading into the general election, the total number of Republican voters Tuesday was far less than half of the Democratic turnout.
Just 210 Republicans voted for mayor, while nearly 1,000 Democrats cast ballots in the party's primary. Currently, Democrats control every political office in the city.

Found on Gulf Coast News and WishTV
Video also on http://www.wishtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=5215140&nav=0Ra7
It was called one of the worst natural disasters in America's history. Hurricane Katrina devastated countless communities.
Saturday night, the mayor of Waveland, Mississippi was in Boone County to say "thank you" to a group of Hoosiers who helped them pick up the pieces.
Dozens of folks who either live in Waveland or have been there to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina swapped stories Saturday night.
"Our old downtown, where our historic city hall was built in 1877, every building in our old downtown was destroyed," Tommy Longo, mayor of Waveland, said.
Longo said help from folks in Hendricks and Boone counties gave them hope.
"For somebody that's 1400 miles away and doesn't know a person down there they just knew these were fellow Americans that got hit with the worst natural disaster in the history of America and we need to get down there and see what we can do to help," Longo said.
He said when folks back in Waveland talk about the disaster relief group from Lebanon and Brownsburg, they do so with a smile.
"It's a tremendous uplifting feeling. We've got an affectionate term for them, it's the boys from Indiana are here," Longo said.
"On a small level I think we did help and it's Americans helping Americans," retired Brownsburg police chief Dave Galloway said.
Galloway was one of the men who organized the relief group. "We ended up, we made four trips where we had people go down and help people at Waveland, Mississippi."
"Our entire town, 95 percent of our structures were substantially destroyed so to have these men with heavy equipment that knew what they were doing was just an unbelievably uplifting experience," Longo said.
Mayor Longo said they still have an overwhelming amount of work that needs to be done.
The group from Hendricks and Boone counties says they plan to go back.

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