Rotarian of the Day for June 8, 2022, Ted Wold, secured Winnfield’s mayor-elect, Gerald Hamms, to speak to the Winnfield Rotary Club about his goals and plans as he takes office in July.
Mr. Hamms, born and reared here in Winnfield along with his four siblings, graduated from Winnfield Senior High School in 1978. He attended Louisiana Tech, and then joined the United States Marine Corps. After a military career of 24 years in the Marine Corps, Hamms returned to Winnfield, where he has continuously lived and worked since.
Along with working in leadership positions in different businesses, Mr. Hamms served Winnfield as the City Councilman for District 2 for two terms before running for mayor. He served on the Budget/Finance Committee, the Public Safety Committee, and several others in his time on the city council.
“My goal is to move the city forward, with all of us working together,” Hamms told the group. He noted that the population of Winnfield reported from the 2020 census was down 844 people from the census of 2010. We lost our status as a city, “and we must grow to improve our status back to that of a city, because many more grant opportunities are available to cities, with populations of 5,000+ than to towns, with populations between 1,000 and 4,999.
Mr. Hamms says he will work to attract businesses to come to Winnfield to provide job opportunities for the children of Winnfield as they complete their educations, so they can stay here and raise their own children. This will require improvement of the infrastructure such as streets and drainage. He also wants to increase recreational programs and opportunities for adults as well as children in
“We need to adapt to the 21 st century,” according to Mr. Hamms, and the city and parish have to work together for improved technology and safety. “I’m a hands-on person, I’ll meet with groups and listen to my constituents. I think leaders should be challenged by the citizens when they are not being responsive
He plans to work to improve emergency preparedness so that citizens are protected and shelters are in place for such times. We will have a balanced budget, according to Hamms, and he will sit down with our CPAs and the auditors to see what the mayor’s office must do to get audits completely timely. Hamms also says he will work to make sure there is no blighted property in town, meeting with property owners about their properties. He will also continue the program to dispose of abandoned property with controlled burning while training the city’s firefighters.
After Mr. Hamms fielded questions about the lack of a landfill which can take debris from deconstructed buildings, the need to enhance downtown with its many derelict vacant buildings, the use of the VoTech property, and plans for the Fourth of July celebration, the meeting was adjourned as customary with the
Rotary motto, “Service above self!”
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