POSTED: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 7:11pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 7:20pm
East Baton Rouge Parish, La (NBC33) — East Baton Rouge voters decide on the next mayor in nine months, but the battle is already turning bitter.
Today, Baton Rouge Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker officially threw his hat in the ring, which comes after months of tension between Walker and the current Mayor-President Kip Holden.
Both sides are already taking jabs at each other over what's happened in the parish in the past year, and one of the two men said he's expecting this campaign to get even nastier.
For the past year, the mayor and mayor pro-tem have been at odds on a long list of items impacting the parish, including the bond proposal, curbing violence, and improving infrastructure in Baton Rouge.
Walker said he's planning to call Holden out during the campaign, like he has for months.
“I’m not doing one thing differently today than I’ve done the whole 11 years as a councilman,” said Walker. “I’m not going to stop saying what I think I should say. I’m not going to stop being assertive. I’m not going to stop telling it like it is.”
Holden will stay positive, and went on to say voters in Baton Rouge are smart enough to know the truth.
“I’m not going to get into a back and forth with Mike on what he deems is happening versus what I think is happening,” said the current mayor. “I think the people are educated enough to make a wise decision.”
Here's a look at the issue each one says they'll tackle. Holden says he'll keep working on traffic congestion, and bringing more films to the capital city. He'll also work on improving communication with the Metro Council.
As for Walker, he says he'll watch parish spending; however, his biggest priority is crime in the Capitol City.
Holden says he's running on his record, but at the same time is expecting to hear about more attacks from the Walker campaign.
These two aren’t the only candidates that plan on running for mayor. Both Jim Mayer, President of Mayer Clothiers, and Gordon Mese, the owner of Garden District Nursery, have made it clear they are running for office.
Meanwhile, an area attorney says he's been asked by political consultants to throw his hat into the ring. Dr. Peter Q. John said he has formed an exploratory committee.
John is an attorney, author, and radio talk show host. He said he's seeing if running is the right move for his family.
What qualities would you like to see in the next mayor. Log on to our facebook page and post your thoughts on our wall.
We'll air some of your responses as the race continues,.