Both Adrian Perkins and Lee O. Savage formally announced their campaigns for Shreveport mayor last week.
The two events were like night and day. More like a dark, no stars, no moon night and a bright, no clouds sunny day. The only real similarities were that both candidates are men.
Perkins announced at 11:30 am on Thursday, April 26 in a meeting room at a West Shreveport hotel. Savage announced at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 in the Agriculture Building at the State Fair Grounds.
Perkins had about 80 in attendance, divided equally between whites and blacks. Savage had a little over 100 in his audience, with fewer than five blacks in attendance.
Perkins is a Democrat. Savage is a Republican.
Perkins was introduced by his former high school principal, Sandra McCalla. Savage was introduced by his son.
Perkins spoke for less than 30 minutes. He did not entertain questions from the audience. Savage spoke for almost an hour and answered audience questions for another 30 minutes.
Perkins had two elected officials at his event, Shreveport City Councilman Oliver Jenkins and Caddo Parish Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts. Savage had none.
Perkins grew up in Cedar Grove, and he graduated from Captain Shreve High School. Savage grew up in Sunset Acres, and he graduated from Woodlawn High School.
Perkins graduated from West Point, and he will graduate from Harvard Law School this month. Savage graduated from LSU-Shreveport.
Perkins served eight years in the U.S. Army and did tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Savage does not have military service.
Perkins did not announce his campaign manager or chairperson. Savage announced former Caddo commissioner David Cox as his campaign chairman and Parker Ward as his campaign manager.
Perkins said Shreveport needed a new police chief, but he did not mention a name. Savage said that he wanted former Shreveport Police detective Rod Demery to be his police chief. (Demery attended both announcements. He says that he is committed to reducing crime in Shreveport and that he is not backing any candidate.)
Notables at the Perkins announcement included Byrum Teekel, Ursula Bowman, Henry Walker, James Heard, Fred Ratzburg and Don Hobdy.
Notables at Savage’s announcement included Cox, Ward, local Caddo Republican leader Louis Avallone and Jimmy Allen, a member of the Republican State Central Committee.
Perkins listed major campaign issues to be the city’s crime rate, the lack of affordable flights out of the Shreveport Regional Airport, the city’s declining credit rating, and the city’s declining tax base. Perkins also said that jobs for all citizens are and that, as mayor, he would have a well staffed and professionally qualified economic development team.
Savage emphasized crime, litter and property standards, street potholes, the Shreveport-Caddo Metropolitan Planning Commission and the airport as major issues. Savage said the city needs an economic development board and that the city was not getting its bang for the buck with the North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP).
Notable quotes from Perkins included.
• “I am not too young to be mayor. In fact, I am old enough to know what needs to be done and young enough to get it done.”
• “I make up my lack of political experience with my leadership experiences in the U.S. Army and Harvard Law School.”
• “As a soldier and a commander, I made decisions as if the lives of my soldiers depended on me. I will take the same urgency to city hall as mayor.”
Notable quotes from Savage included:
• 98% of America is safer than Shreveport
• Shreveport’s general fund is “funny money” and the city has a lot of money that no one is doing anything with.
• Corruption is everywhere at city hall and if not stopped now, it will only get worse and worse.
Perkins and Savage offer substantial contrasts, both between themselves and the current mayor. How they deliver their message and build a voter base will be the key to their campaign success. Additionally, attracting voters from Tyler’s support base will be necessary to win this election.