There is an old saying in politics that if you are not taking shots from opponents (and political critics), then you must not be doing a good job. Put another way, if you are getting some hits then you must do be doing many things well. Such is the case with Patrick William who plans on being Shreveport’s next mayor.
Williams is a new face to many politicos and citizens alike, despite his prior service as a Caddo Commissioner and now as state representative from the MLK area.
That, plus his determination to be a positive agent for change, has upset many established political power bases and constituencies. And to top it off, Williams has NOT promised jobs in his administration to curry political favor.
There’s no doubt that Williams has upset the traditional “I will scratch your back if you scratch mine” mentality of Shreveport politics; its quite apparent that the old guard Shreveport business and political interests that have thrived under the Glover administration consider his candidacy a threat. This group first anointed Councilman Sam Jenkins to be the standard barrier for 4 more years of Glover; after revelation of Jenkin’s financial problems, Ollie Tyler was coaxed out of retirement at age 69 to continue the do nothing Glover ‘leadership’.
Williams has received endorsements that verify his appeal all to all segments of Shreveport–black, white, Democrats and Republican; this is a welcome change for a city known for social, racial and economic polarization. Elected officials endorsing Williams include Caddo D.A. Charles Scott (D), State Senator Barrow Peacock (R), State Representative Alan Seabaugh (R), Shreveport City Councilman Joe Shyne (D) and Caddo Commissioners Jerald Browman (D), David Cox (R), John Escude (R), Lyndon B. Johnson (D), Jim Smith (R), and Michael Williams (D). Former elected officials supporting Williams include Greg Barro (State Senator – D), Paul Carmouche (Caddo D.A. – D), Pastor Theron Jackson (Shreveport City Council – D), Monty Walford (Shreveport City Council – D), and Gard Wayt (Caddo Police Jury – D).
Many prominent members of the business community are also supporting Williams. A partial list includes former Shreveport CAO Ken Antee, Brady Blade Jr, James E. Davison, Stanton Dossett III, Kit Gamble, James Madden, Kevin McCotter, Leon Miletello, Harold Turner, Ryan Wicker and Michael Woods. Others in the Williams camp include Mike Collier, Earlene Coleman, Matt Locke, Debbie Martin, Bruce Roberts, Ron Weems, Tim Wilhite and Ryan Wooley.
Williams is a stark contrast to Ollie Tyler whose claims to success as Caddo Superintendent are NOT supported by her record of tax increases, poor school performance and a bloated administration. Additionally Tyler has failed to explain health reasons cited for her Caddo resignation–which was before taking jobs in New Orleans and then Baton Rouge; rumors continue about her alleged drug abuse while Superintendent as well as an alleged affair with a student. Tyler’s campaign is being managed by Lynn Braggs, an ardent Glover supporter and political operative. Unlike Sam Jenkins, Williams is his own man making his own decisions.
Jenkins was only elected to the Caddo Commission with the active endorsement of Joyce Bowman and when she tired of the Council, Bowman in effect swapped places with Jenkins–putting him on the Council. Additionally, Jenkins must explain his lack of leadership on the Council when , for the most part, he was a staunch Glover supporter. Those issues, plus his polarizing campaign manager Ken Epperson, have doomed his effort from the ‘get go”.
Williams has a job , owns a home, and is an elected official who has lived his adult life in Shreveport–unlike political newcomer Victoria Provenza who is unemployed, lives in a relative’s house, and has never held an elected office. Victoria only returned to Shreveport in 2011 and her children were raised by her former husband in Colorado. Other than being a mardi gras queen, Provenza has no local civic involvement reflective of her desire to make Shreveport a better place to live.
William’s high energy level exceeds the other candidates combined and his youth zeal and sincerity are welcome and needed attributes for the new mayor who must basically rebuild a city from the ground up. He acknowledges the challenge, and does not shy away from the tough choices that must be made–offering real leadership that the city has been lacking for the last 8 years. Williams is focused on the future…not on promised task forces or government theories or past accomplishments. He promises to be the agent for change…and there is little doubt that he can not do just that as Shreveport’s next mayor.