Mayor Bob Short This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   What inspired your run for mayor?
I've been involved inpolitics since I was eight. When I moved to Mississippi in1974, my dream was to be mayor of Gulfport. In 1983 I ran forthe legislature, and served for 14 years. I felt Gulfport wasa growing city, and believed I could help it grow. I wanted tocreate more programs for recreation and seniorcitizens.

What were your main challenges whenyou became mayor?
I was taking over the state's secondlargest city and it had just gone through a large annexationof 32 square miles and 30,000 people who were trying to workwith the people of Gulfport. We had a council of seven,instead of five; three were new. Working to integrate the newpart of the city into the old was achallenge.

How would you describe Gulfport nowas compared when you first became mayor?
There hasbeen a tremendous amount of growth. We have a new mall that'sabout to open. The airport has grown tremendously with jetservice. The growing population and revitalization of downtownGulfport are two things we're working on. We're working withthe state port to continue growth; there's already been atremendous amount.

What do you feel is yourmost significant accomplishment as mayor?
Working tobring the city together, the old and the new. Also working toget more funding for the highway projects infrastructure andbringing in more high-tech jobs.

What arepositive influences of the casinos on Gulfport?
Theycreate more jobs and attract more tourists. It gives manypeople jobs, so the husband and wife can both work and becovered by insurance. It has opened up our city to the rest ofthe country, bringing new jobs and tourists not tied directlyto gaming. Without gaming we wouldn't have the Sea Wolves(hockey team) or the professional football team. We wouldn'thave the golf courses being built or the jet service. Casinoshave been a very positive influence on thecity.

What are the negative influences of thecasinos?
One negative is that you have more people,and some complain about standing in line, and then some have agambling problem. But I think the positives outweigh thenegatives.

What are your feelings about therecent violence and bomb threats in the schools?
Ithink we have a lot to do to improve parent responsibility. Ifeel the schools do a very good job. I personally think thereis too much violence on television and movies. There are toomany video games that small children play. I don't think wegive the good students, probably 98% of the students, enoughrecognition. We probably need more counseling, and parentsneed to be held more responsible for knowing what theirchildren are doing at home. It's hard for me to believe thatyou could have a child building bombs and not know anythingabout it.

How does your position as mayor helpassist in this type of problem?
I work very closelywith the school system and appoint the school board members. Iwork directly with the Gulfport Police Department to make surewe know what to look for. Plus, I visit the schools. I try tovisit one school a week, and know what's going onthere.

How has being mayor of Gulfport had apositive effect on life for you?
I've always enjoyedworking with the public. I've also worked with the SpecialOlympics for 30 years. It gives me a great feeling ofaccomplishment when I can help someone, whether a seniorcitizen or school groups. It makes me feel good to know thatsometime during the day I might be able to help someone.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 12:21 pm
i love this so much!
NENE said...
Oct. 15, 2009 at 2:52 pm
MICKEY replied...
Oct. 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm
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