SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - In just over 48 hours, Slidell voters head back to the voting booth to elect their first new mayor in eight years. Two political veterans are in a tight race, and the future of a struggling mall may hang in the balance.
The race to lead St. Tammany's largest city pits a former parish president against a long-time state representative.
"Status quo won't work anymore," said candidate Greg Cromer.
"I'm easy to get along with, and I can help them," said his opponent, Kevin Davis.
Both Cromer and Davis claim to have the right experience to move Slidell forward, especially when it comes to economic development.
"Several things. We need to meet with the owners to show our support and see what we can do to facilitate educational and recreational technology," said Davis.
The lack of traffic at Northshore Square mall has hurt surrounding businesses, and the candidates say making the area vital once again is a priority.
"I will find an investor to come in and buy the property, a community within a community, put some condos in the parking lot," said Cromer.
Slidell has had more than its share of floods. Last year, funding for a levee south of Slidell was pulled by the state, and both candidates say getting it back through personal involvement will be crucial to the flood fight.
"I will be in a better position as mayor because I can work with the state and federal delegation and partner with them," said Cromer.
"I worked with all state agencies. Secretaries have changed, but the understaff people are still there. I've worked with them all," said
Davis, who believes his former role as state director of homeland security should help him if he's elected.
"My years of developing budgets and then managing those budgets, and all the FEMA regulations and rules, while dealing with FEMA budgets," said Davis.
Cromer has worked in the aerospace and medical industries, and believes he can help bring jobs.
"I've been preparing for this my whole life. I went back to school at 56, and got my master's degree," he said.
Both candidates for mayor say they will work with Slidell's police police chief to try and lower crime in Slidell. For his part, the police chief said he's not making any endorsements.
Davis and Cromer beat challenges by Landon Cusimano and Bruce Clement to make into this Saturday's runoff. Clement has endorsed Cromer in this runoff race.