Biloxi’s Ward 4 councilman candidates make pitches before July 9 runoff (2024)

By Noah Noble

Published: Jun. 24, 2024 at 6:27 PM CDT|Updated: 8 hours ago

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - The race for Biloxi’s Ward 4 council seat is neck and neck. Just 28 votes separated Jamie Creel and runner-up Rodney McGilvary during the primary. The nearly 1,100 votes were split among three other candidates, and now Creel and McGilvary are hoping to win over those voters.

On Monday, WLOX News spoke to both candidates about why they are running for this elected position.

“To make a difference,” Jamie Creel replied. “It seems like over the last several years, ward four has become a back seat. We really haven’t had a voice to put our issues or our neighborhood on the forefront. Just to be accountable and have a voice down on Lameuse Street, down at city hall for this area.”

“I want to get in on the ground floor of getting this ward to be the best ward in the city, and in addition to that, working hand in hand with my fellow councilman and administration,” Rodney McGilvary answered. “I know all the directors. I know them on a first name basis. I can work with them, they worked with me when I was at the police department even though it was seven years ago, I still know those folks and I know the folks in the administration.”

McGilvary points to his 40 years with Biloxi Police Department where he gained a reputation as a problem solver. He spent 15 of those years as assistant chief.

Creel said he already has experience in office: he served a single term as state representative from 2000-2004.

What about top priorities for Ward 4?

“First and foremost is easem*nts need to be cleaned, beautification of ward four, but just be accessible to the people,” Creel said. “I think that’s the biggest thing we haven’t had. I’ve always said this isn’t an I ward — I’m not going to do this, and I’m not going to do that — but we can. Together. I guess that’s the biggest thing — is just be a voice for the people. It’s not about my individual concerns. One thing I wanted to do is establish volunteer committees to make a collaboration of issues so they match what city hall has.”

“On the campaign trail, people talk about sidewalks, drainage, ditches,” McGilvary said. “I’m also focused on Margaret Sherry Park. I got an eight-year-old grandson that I take to that park all the time, playing in the water and everything. It is the most deplorable recreation location anywhere in the city. That’s going to be right at the top of my list. Then, go across the street to the dog park.”

If elected, Creel said that upward-trending economics will be another focus of his time as councilman.

“Growth in general,” Creel explained. “Not only commercial growth but residential growth. Our tax base is — we’ve been fortunate over the last 30 years not to have a property tax increase, and I’d like to keep it that way, but in order to do that, we have to drive revenue in other areas.”

McGilvary noted that an open line of communication with the people he represents will be paramount.

“Making sure that I can communicate with the citizens when they have issues, which everybody has my phone number, whether it’s text, call or email,” McGilvary said. “We’ve been lacking in that for the last two and a half years. We’ve had a cloud, not only over the ward, but over the council and the city of Biloxi. That cloud is gone and it’s time to have someone that is accountable and will be responsible. My full-time job is going to be serving the citizens of Biloxi. ”

The Ward 4 council seat is vacant because Robert Deming vacated office after he pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. Some voters have noted Creel’s history of arrests ranging from DUI to Malicious Mischief. WLOX News asked the candidate about that.

“First of all, that was 25, 30 years ago,” Creel said. “We’ve all made mistakes. I’ve owned up to them and make amends, so to speak. I realize that the people who have put their neck on the line to endorse me, to vote for me, to come out and support me — I represent them, so my actions do depict them as well. I realize that now. It was a while back and I wouldn’t change it. It’s made me who I am today. It’s humbled me and just the support alone has humbled me.”

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Biloxi’s Ward 4 councilman candidates make pitches before July 9 runoff (2024)
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