On Tuesday, December 1st at 5:30 pm at the Sunflower County Courthouse, the people of Indianola were provided full detail of my platform. In spite of the various remarks from my opponent, many had agreed at the close of the evening that “Education, Unity, and Progress” would truly lead to a better Indianola.
Once again, Indianola Main Street sponsored this final debate. The format was somewhat different as follow-up questions were permitted from the panel. And unlike the first debate, my opponent and I were able to challenge one another in true debate fashion. Ross Reily, Managing Editor of the Mississippi Business Journal, assumed his role as moderator for the second time.
Many of the same questions were raised which prompted the same responses from my opponent as before. However, those in attendance wanted to hear something different. I was able to propose ideal solutions through my platform, “Education, Unity, and Progress”.
I have always believed that shared knowledge leads to positive growth. An informed and united Indianola has potential for growth in the following areas:
1. New business growth and development.
2. Providing a higher-skilled workforce to attract outside business.
3. A cleaner and safer community.
4. A greater appreciation of our Blues heritage which will help further promote local tourism.
5. Higher standardized test scores which will provide greater funding to our public schools.
During the course of the evening, a question of party-affiliation was raised which allowed me to explain fully my Independent candidacy; “I identify with the Democratic Party. However, I wanted to free myself from the politics of a Democratic race which I felt several of the candidates, including my opponent, were and are not true Democrats.” His response highlighted his unsuccessful mayoral run as an Independent and the fact that he felt that it was easier to get things done in Mississippi as a Democrat. In short, he felt that running as a Democrat would allow him to get those things needing to get done in Indianola easier. I don’t think the community accepted his response, and felt that there were other underlying interests in his party affiliation.
During the course of the debate, it seemed that the questions were becoming more and more personal rather than staying focused on the issues and how either would propose actual solution. In order to ensure that my message was conveyed, my closing informed the community what was needed:
My opponent and I share the same resulting vision for a better Indianola: youth enrichment, business growth, a safer community, budgetary controls, and overall city maintenance. However, we come from two very different places, from two different generations, and present two very different paths.
I was born 36 years ago right here in Indianola to a family of educators. Those who mentored, shaped, and fostered my development. My platform comes from that same place. I am not distant from the community or its history. My parents instilled in me a sense of home and a place of belonging. Yes, Indianola is my home. That is why I always return; hoping that those issues would be addressed. I decided earlier this year that it was now time to speak on those issues most relevant to the community. I propose education because it can resolve any and all problems. When we know better, we simply do better.
Education is a continuous activity and touches both the young and old. Education is an ongoing relentless pursuit of knowledge. Once knowledge is obtained, it must be shared. That common knowledge brings unity. Unity bridges any and all gaps. Once there is unity, there can then be community growth and progress.
Take these words to the poll next week. On December 8th, VOTE EDUCATION, VOTE UNITY, VOTE PROGRESS. VOTE MARIO STRONG for your next mayor of Indianola. Thank you.
At the end of the evening, “Education, Unity, and Progress” was on the minds of all those in attendance. The debate was a success as the platform was well received and new supporters were gained.
And now, one week remains until the general election. On December 8th, let’s bring youth… let’s bring energy… let’s bring awareness to our mayor’s office. Together we can make Indianola truly a better place.
Vote Mario Strong for Mayor of Indianola.