Gilich makes first speech, with capital R

Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich was labeled today in his first speaking engagement  since taking office Monday morning  – and like his childhood nickname, the label stuck.

As he was approaching the  podium to speak to Harrison County Republican Club luncheon at the Great Southern Club in Gulfport, advertising executive Ted Riemann, who helmed Gilich’s successful campaign for mayor, attached a larger sticker to the back of Gilich’s jacket, drawing laughter and applause from the audience.: In big bold letters, it read: “I am Republican.”

The gathering was an occasion for the new mayor to speak to a group that came to his defense after some state state Republican leaders endorsed his opponent in the recent mayoral election.

“Good afternoon, my fellow Demo— Republicans,”:Gilich said at the outset of his remarks. “Thank you for inviting me today. I’m here to assure you that rumors of my party affiliation have been greatly exaggerated.”

The mayor also recited a Republican pledge of allegiance, where he alluded to the party divisiveness and endorsements, spoke about his recent election, and gave a glimpse of his inaugural address, which occurs during a ceremony at 5:30 this afternoon at the Biloxi Civic Center.

“I think one thing that makes me happiest about being mayor of my hometown is that the voters clearly preferred my message of love for Biloxi, appreciation of its heritage, and commitment to its future,” Gilich said.

But the mayor couldn’t leave without one last friendly jab at his fellow Republicans.

“In closing, I ask that each of you keep me in your prayers,” he said, “and I have one final request of all of you. Sometime, before the next election in two years, would someone please teach me the secret handshake?”
Read the text of the mayor’s speech
See photos from the gathering


News and notes

Farmers Market: Beginning Thursday, the Biloxi Farmers Market is temporarily moving to just north of the CSX Railway while city crews make improvements to the market’s main location, under the I-110 overpass at Howard Avenue, south of the railway.

Inaugural preview: The inauguration of Andrew “FoFo” Gilich as mayor of Biloxi takes place this afternoon at 5:30 at the Biloxi Civic Center. To see the program for the ceremony, click here.

Preservation series: The weekly Preservation in May series continues Thursday with free tours of the Masonic Temple on the corner of Main Street and Howard Avenue. The imposing edifice has been a downtown fixture for more than a hundred years, but relatively few have explored its interior. Lodge membvers will offer tours of the upper floors, while the ladies auxiliary members will provide refreshments. The tours begin at 5:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Don’t forget to get your passport stamped.

Summertime fun: Children will be able climb on fire trucks, and play with firefighting equipment (just like real firefighters) this weekend on the Town Green. It’s all part of “Jump Into Summer Fun,” two days of carnival-style fun, sponsored by he West End Hose Co. No. 3, the city’s fire museum. For details on the fun, click here.