Waveland’s Ward 1 Republican Primary runoff election is next Tuesday, Oct. 25 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Waveland Fire Department, located at 307 Coleman Ave.

Candidates Rhonda Aime-Gamble and Bob Martin will be on Tuesday’s ballot.

Absentee voting is underway Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Waveland City Hall, located at 301 Coleman Ave. City Hall will be open for absentee voting for the runoff on Sat. Oct. 22 from 8 a.m. to noon.

The winner of the runoff will head to the general election on Dec. 6.

The Sea Coast Echo asked each candidate the same six questions. Below are Aime-Gamble’s and Martin’s responses:

Rhonda Aime-Gamble

What is your educational/professional background and how would you apply that to your office on behalf of the people of Waveland?

I am a graduate of Our Lady Academy. I received my AA degree from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College at Jeff Davis and then attended University of Southern Mississippi at Gulf Park. My paralegal career spanned nearly thirty years. I was the first Hancock County Justice Court Clerk and received years of continuing legal education hours from Ole Miss Judicial College. Having an astute attention to detail and the ability to move tasks forward expeditiously, I know what it takes to obtain the solutions and how to navigate the complicated governmental agencies to accomplish the difficult tasks that face our city.

What neighborhood do you live in and why? Where are your favorite places to spend time in Waveland?

I am a lifelong resident of the area, grew up on Ulman Avenue in Bay St. Louis, am the daughter of E.V. “Gus” Aime and the late Janet Breland Aime. I have lived in Ward 1 of Waveland for over 35 years where I raised my three children and am married to Ret. Army Major, Jay V. Gamble. I am the fourth generation on both the Breland and Aime sides of my family to make Ward 1 my home. As a matter of fact, my home was built by my late grandfather, K. T. (Ted) Breland.

I love our community and the people in it. I enjoy meeting with people at various functions and events. We are very fortunate to live in an area where we can spend time at these events and take the time to enjoy the beauty of our beaches and parks. I am an avid reader and enjoy sitting in my yard under the shade of the large Live Oaks with a good book. I miss the days of taking my boys playing baseball at the Waveland fields, and shopping and visiting on Coleman.

What do you think is the number one issue Waveland is facing right now and what would you do to resolve it?

Waveland has been struggling since Hurricane Katrina and I am committed to kicking Waveland’s economy development into high gear. It isn’t too late. But it requires a strong voice and proactive approach. We can accomplish this by expanding and improving community amenities, through cooperation and partnerships which will fuel infrastructure, education, business, and the non-profit sector. I want to work for the people of Ward 1 and the entire city of Waveland and be the voice for the people.

What is the one thing you like the most about life in Waveland?

I feel that the residents are the lifeblood and spirit that makes Waveland great. The resilience of those who make Waveland home keeps it moving forward. We are no stranger to the devastating forces of Mother Nature, having been literally destroyed during hurricanes of the past. But as the Phoenix rose from the ashes, we continue that resilient spirit and come together, neighbor helping neighbor, and rebuild better and more beautiful than before.

If you could change one thing about Waveland, what would it be?

If I could change just one thing about Waveland, it would be the pace at which city government moves and addresses current and potential issues. I believe in the potential for Waveland to be a power player along the coast. We need to tap into every resource at our disposal and create the energy needed to draw businesses, industry, and residents to our doorstep. Economic development is needed to reach the next step in our recovery. We owe that to our children and grandchildren to keep the next generations here locally.

Why are you seeking public office and what do you hope to achieve?

To say that I am passionate about my community is an understatement. I have a reputation for being the first to volunteer and assist with a public need. I have not waited for an election to lend a helping hand for the people of my ward and their needs. I have been actively participating in city issues, such as blighted properties, ordinances, the development of a golf cart reciprocal agreement, and the indexing and organization of the city charter. I have been asking questions to the city, both at the Board meetings and directly to City Hall and have sought documents for almost two years now to find the answers and the solutions. My experience and knowledge of Waveland removes the learning curve and will provide Ward 1 with knowledgeable representation from day one. I want to continue my tireless effort and work for the people of Ward 1 as their voice in city government as their Alderman.

Bob Martin

What is your educational/ professional background and how would you apply that to your office on behalf of the people of Waveland?

•College graduate

•More than twenty years of Community and State relations with CSX Transportation

•P.O.S.T .Certified Instructor for Accident Reconstruction on train vehicle collision for First Responders and Law Enforcement---five state area

•US Treasury

•US Navy Veteran serving three tours in Viet Nam

•I currently serve on Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission as Treasurer

•Published Author

•I would use my community networking skills to bring leadership to the city of Waveland using resources from our Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission to build our business community. As Treasurer of Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission, I currently manage a budget more than double that of Waveland. I will use my expertise to help build a better city budget so that we can improve the city’s services. Using my previous experiences, I will support our first responders that protect our basic way of life. I will support our hometown veterans as a proud Navy Veteran. With my business background I plan on adding validity to all actions taken by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen. I will do my due diligence to support a transparent government that represents all the constituents of Ward 1.

What neighborhood do you live in and why? Where are your favorite places to spend time in Waveland?

My wife Donna and I live in the E.W. Ulman subdivision of Waveland on Nicholson Avenue. We found this area the perfect place for us, with its historical Oaks, proximity to the beach and water, and its peaceful neighborhood. We chose Waveland to build our forever home because it offers everything we want and need; it is close to shopping centers, easy access to I-10, health care is readily available, and there is a strong military presence. Waveland offers the opportunity for recreation and self-expression through a strong and vibrant art community. It has that hometown feel of a close-knit community.

In my spare time, my favorite place is on the water. One of the reasons I live here is because of the beaches and the water. Waveland is a beautiful city, where the beaches and water are a drawing card for visitors and residents alike. I find that some of the best days can be had fishing and using our natural resources to enhance our way of life. We must protect our natural resources by maintaining and keeping our waters clean, our beaches free from trash to protect this way of life. I know how important our outdoor venues are to our citizens, including the fishing pier. People need recreation to live a balanced life and I will work to protect these assets.

What do you think is the number one issue Waveland is facing right now and what would you do to resolve it?

Business development is the number one issue facing Waveland, in my opinion. We must work to identify opportunities to reach new businesses and markets. This is an important gateway to unlocking long-term values for our community. We live in a market-rich environment because of our lifestyles, demographics, and our strong relationships. To build our business community takes a concerted effort on the part of city leaders. When businesses develop and thrive, the community thrives with enriched opportunities for recreation, improved infrastructure, better school facilities for our children, and a broader tax base. As Alderman, I will help seek out business development utilizing the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission business development unit which will help bring business to Waveland at no expense to the city.

What is the one thing you like the most about life in Waveland?

The one thing that makes Waveland stand above other cities is its citizens and our way of life. We have it all here in Waveland, everything a person needs to create a life and live that life the best way possible. I came to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and to Waveland right after Katrina. I was here when City Hall was a tent on Coleman Avenue to prepay the taxes for my company so that this city and those like it would have working capital after the storm. I saw what Waveland was then and what the people were like at their worst moment. I was here just like so many others, to help this community grow again. We cannot get Waveland back to what it was, we can never have that again; we can, however, become a stronger and a healthier place. In my time spent here post-Katrina, I saw a proud, hardworking, supportive community. A community that shares an emotional connection while working together to build a sense of place for what we have today. I know there is work to be done to make Waveland a better place to live and work, I also know that we the people are the ones that can make it happen for a better tomorrow.

If you could change one thing about Waveland, what would it be?

The one change I would make would be the way our city’s properties are maintained. Our parks, including but not limited to Veterans’ Park, our buildings; fire houses, police department, and other government buildings, i.e. City Hall, including our pier, and Rights of Way. We should be aware that these public assets; our parks, city buildings, and community areas require protection for the health, welfare, and the safety of the tax paying public. I see this as an under-addressed need in Waveland. We can do a better job of maintaining what we have by opening lines of communication with our city employees, and our citizens. With a comprehensive plan for the city, this allows our infrastructure to become a priority within by utilizing our city’s oversight to make our city work for us, the people. We can then become a solvent city that gets out of the “Pay as you Go” mentality through allocation of proper funds to make this taxpayer investment a priority.

Why are you seeking public office and what do you hope to achieve?

I decided to seek the position of Alderman Ward 1 after listening to my friends and neighbors discuss the same issues continually, and there were many, without seeing any results. I could not hold on to the ideas that we needed a different way of doing business without putting myself as the one that could help move our community forward. I have had more than twenty years of experience managing projects and establishing working relationships with cities, municipalities, and towns across five southern states. We have what it takes to make Waveland the best city on the coast, with the proper direction and leadership.

My goals for the position of Alderman Ward 1 are to increase the funds for our infrastructure with a budget that is balanced. I have identified that Waveland has an insufficient capital improvement budget. We should increase our financial reserve for emergencies to a point where the city can operate for a minimum of six months, if required. While we have a line-item budget for infrastructure and capital improvement, this needs to be a separate budget all together. We cannot continue to operate the business of the city the way we did seventeen years ago, or even ten years ago, the city has changed, people have changed, and we must conduct our business a different way for us to move this city forward for the sake of our citizens and for generations of the future.

Editor’s Note: A similar meet the candidates featuring all candidates in the general election on Dec. 6 will be published two weeks prior on Nov. 23.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.