There were no marching bands, no balloons or confetti, no introductory hype speakers. The venue was not glamorous nor particularly convenient, – – the fellowship hall of Lake Bethlehem Baptist Church on Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive. But it was the home base of a mayoral candidate raised in the Cooper Road area (now MLK), – – an area that was then (and to many still is) on the fringes of Shreveport, or at least the “good life” of this city.
Nonetheless it was there that Patrick Williams launched his mayoral bid on Sunday, January 5, – – sandwiching his announcement between the end of the morning church service and the fellowship dinner. Surrounding primarily by his church members, Williams was excited yet plain spoken in stating his primary goal as Mayor – – to make Shreveport a better place to live, work and raise a family.
The gathering for his mayoral bid was low-key, with very little advance publicity. The event was obviously not planned for maximum media attention nor public participation, – – but it was reflective of the candidate himself. Williams proudly proclaimed he grew up in the Cooper Road area, was educated through 2 years of college there and that he was proud of his roots.
Williams has come a long way from his humble beginnings. He has an Architectural Engineering degree from Southern University and an MBA degree from Centenary College.
Williams has completed the Senior Executive in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and he is currently pursuing his Ph. D. in Applied Management and Decision Science at Walden University. He is a graduate of both Leadership Shreveport/Bossier and Leadership Louisiana.
Williams, a black Democrat, began his public service in 1999 as a Caddo Parish Commissioner. Thereafter he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representation in 2007 to serve out the remainder of Cedric Glover’s term after Glover was elected Shreveport Mayor. His current term ends in 2015; he is eligible for an additional 4 year term.
It is very notable that Republican elected officials were in attendance at the announcement, – – State Senator Barrow Peacock and Caddo Commissioners John Escude and David Cox along with Harold Sater representing the Southern Hills Business Association. Shreveport City Councilman Joe Shyne also attended.
Williams listed his goals being economic growth and improvements to public safety, streets, water and sewage as well as public education. He emphasized that all citizens, from all areas of Shreveport, share common interests that can be advanced by working together, – – and he pledged to make this his highest priority as mayor. “Progress, Together” is his campaign slogan.
Those in the crowd who were not church members getting ready to chow down on a Sunday post church dinner walked away with a warm feeling for an energetic public servant seeking to improve his community; – – a candidate who openly invited inclusion and participation by all Shreveport residents. Williams did not dwell on his accomplishments, but rather on his goals for all of Shreveport.
The race of Shreveport’s next mayor has now officially begun.