More than a dozen Police Jury candidates participated in the Concordia Chamber of Commerce’s Political Forum Aug. 22 in Vidalia.
Candidates and their comments by district follow.
McKinley Bates was the lone candidate from the three-person race for the District 1A post to attend the forum. He said he oversees recreation for the Town of Ferriday.
Bates said the parish needs better roads and drainage and to “do the right thing for children.”
Five of the six candidates for the District 2 post participated in the forum, including incumbent Willie Dunbar, Kevin Friloux, Kenny Simpson, Robert “Fred” Washington and Kenneth “Butch” Brannon.
Dunbar said he worked hard to represent the district during his tenure and asked that he be allowed to continue the work.
Friloux said he favors term limits for all and wants to reduce the Police Jury from nine members to five, which he said would save $500,000 the first four years.
Simpson said he intends to listen to the public, promote communication between the Jury and citizens, and is a “team player.”
Washington said he worked for the Police jury for decades and knows the concerns of the public. He promised to address those concerns.
Brannon said he wants to pull the public together, improved communications and prioritize Jury projects.
Four of the six candidates for District 3A took part in the forum, including Kenneth DeWitt, Cornell Lewis, Casey Wagoner, Scottie Whittington.
Incumbent Whest Shirley is not seeking re-election.
DeWitt said he shared inventor Thomas Edison’s beliefs in common sense and stick-to-itiveness. He said he wants to improve the parish, see the Jury work as a team and be attentive to the needs of the public, including the need for jobs.
Lewis said his priorities are communications, transparency involving money, hiring a full time grant writer, unifying the parish, seeing current projects through, improving roads and drainage, and working with the Town of Vidalia to improve D.A. Biglane Road.
Wagoner said he is aware of the major issues of the parish. His goals are repairing roads and upgrading drainage, good communications and seeking federal and state funds for local projects.
Whittington said that in addition to improving roads and drainage, a good maintenance program is crucial. Additionally, he said he would work to insure that the Jury spends the taxpayer’s money wisely.
Two of five candidates seeking the District 4A Jury slot took part in the forum – Genesia Allen and Rodney Matthews.
Allen described herself as a proud wife and mother influenced by the longtime public service of her father, Gene Allen, former mayor of Ferriday. She said she believes in progressive change, will work to give the people a voice and insure that the district gets its share of funding.
Matthews said he’s a community organizer who likes people and has a background in helping others. He asked that the voters give him a chance to serve them.
Only one of three candidates for the District 4B Jury post participated in the forum – Lana Hawkins.
Hawkins said she is a mother and grandmother who wants to see roads and drainage improved but also a beautification project created. Describing herself as a “people person,” she said she wants to unite the parish.
Five candidates are seeking the District 5A slot, but only two attended the forum – Henry H. Ceasor and Linda Long Mills.
Ceasor said he wants to improved roads, highways and streets, and will do so if given the support of the voters.
Mills, a mother and grandmother, said she was a volunteer and a team player. She said the parish’s infrastructure needs improving and that one of her goals will be to get young people involved in helping improve their neighborhoods.
Two of the four candidates for District 5B were in attendance for the forum, including Brad Adams and Morris Willson.
Adams said he has been attending Police Jury meetings this year. He said he would support projects that benefit all and will work to improve communications.
Willson, who served on the Jury for two terms in the 1970s and 1980s, said he has the experience to begin work immediately if elected. He said the Jury has too many workers and that nothing is getting done. He said it was time for unproductive people to “go to the house.”