Jury candidates talk issues at forum
The candidates for the Acadia Parish Police Jury who participated in Thursday’s Acadia Parish Political Forum were, front row from left, Terry LaCombe, Tony Broussard, Danny Hebert (unopposed), A.J. “Fatty” Broussard, Marron Lollis, Julie Borill, Felton “Tony” Moreau and Ronnie Fabacher. In the back row are, from left, Robert Guidry, David Savoy, Chuck Broussard, Dale Trahan, Kerry Kilgore, Aleke Kanonu Jr., Richard Faul and A.J. “Jay” Credeur.
Howell Dennis, news editor
During the Acadia Parish Political Forum Thursday evening, candidates for the seven police jury seats up for election addressed the Grand Opera House crowd with their concerns and plans for the future of Acadia Parish.
District 5 incumbent Jimmie Pellerin, District 6 challenger Kem Arceneaux and District 7 challenger Pat Daigle were not present.
Moderator Bruce Conque introduced the candidates for Districts 2, 3 and 4, the first to speak. The candidates spoke in alphabetical order.
The District 2 candidates are A.J. “Fatty” Broussard, Ronnie Fabacher and Terry LaCombe.
“Good evening, my name is A.J. but y’all can call me ‘Fatty,’” said District 2 incumbent Broussard said. “Over the last 12 years, we have hard surfaced roads to the excess of $12 million. We have placed emergency generators throughout the parish. We maintained the gravel roads throughout the parish with ditches. I was once unopposed. And the reason is because of the employees we have.”
Broussard went on to name some employees, one of which was his challenger Ronnie Fabacher.
“I want you to know it has been an honor and a privilege to serve you. Early voting begins on October 10 and the election is on the 24th. So whether you vote for me or against my opponent, please go vote,” he joked.
Next up was Fabacher.
“Like ‘Fatty’ said, I worked at the barn for the police jury,” he said. “What made me want to run for office was that I’ve seen the people, I’ve seen the waste, I’ve heard the complaints and that’s what made me really decide to run. We need to get back on the road. We need to move ahead ... there’s no reason not to.
“We need to work with our drainage boards and try to get them some grants. If they can’t drain, you can’t drain.
“We need to get back with our chip sealer. Some of these roads are getting overlooked. I think we need to move ahead. I ask you to please consider the hands-on experience that I have.”
“I came back to Acadia Parish after college and when I was 26-years-old I was appointed secretary of the police jury,” he said. “At that time Mr. Aaron Cart had 16 jurors. Two years later Mr. Cart retired and I became the secretary/parish manager overseeing the day to day operations of the police jury. I left to become marketing agent for a large garbage company and was then worked for other companies in New Orleans and Eunice.
In 2008 I was appointed secretary/treasurer of the Acadia Parish Police Jury. I know the budgets. I know all the state politicians who were involved with helping us out. I worked administratively so I know the ins and outs of the inner workings of the jury. My top priority is that I would bring respect and responsibility. Political factions have been destroying our jury.”
Conque cut Lacombe short due to time constraints.
“Well I guess I can’t ask these people to vote for me,” he joked.
Acadia Parish Police Jury President Julie Borill was the first candidate from District 3 to speak.
“I was raised in Estherwood and my family has lived there for over 100 years,” she said. “Anthony (Estherwood Mayor Anthony Borill) and I have successfully owned and operated a business since 1986. This year I will be finishing my first term as a police juror serving District 3 and Acadia Parish and I’ve learned many things like how important it is to work as a team, not only with my fellow police jurors but with other governing bodies in Acadia Parish.
“I currently serve as your police jury president. There are many issues in District 3 that need attention such as roads, drainage. I want the people in my district to know that when they go to the polls that they have not wasted their vote. Let’s continue what we’ve started and continue to move forward.”
Next up was District 3 challenger Chuck Broussard.
“I worked for SLEMCO and Cleco for the last 25 years,” Broussard said. “During that time I’ve seen many things that need to be changed — things that have been iignored and things that simply didn’t seem fair.
“Drainage, road improvements and bridges. Issues that the residents of District 3 have not seen addressed properly. I’ve raised my family here and will continue to raise my family here. I want what every resident in District 3 wants.
“I believe that with the right leadership that we can achieve these things. There are many great things on the horizon. The expansion of the Lake Charles area means jobs and economic growth. I would like to see the growth of business in this parish.
“We need to make sure that our roads and infrastructure are ready to take on these projects. I’ve listened to the concerns of the residents of District 3. I realize that we all have the same idea of where we need to head. I’d like to ask that I be allowed to lead us in that direction.”
Broussard then quoted Henry Ford.
“Working together is a beginning. Keeping it together is progress. Keeping it together is success.”
District 4 candidates Kerry Kilgore and Dale Trahan were next up.
“Aside from my family, there are three other influences that have shaped my life — Mo, Larry and Curley. I have three reasons for running for District 4.
“The first is to effectively resolve issues in a timely manner using clear and concise communication. The second reason is a company’s greatest asset is it’s employees. The jurors only represent the legislative body. There are a large number of employees employed by the parish that work under the parish but perform tasks for the police jury. There people are the ones that are actually out there doing the work. I don’t know if there is any reward or recognition they receive but that would be another goal. To recognize and provide educational opportunities for the one’s who perform their jobs to the best of their ability.
“Another goal is to help make the jury a functional body of government. I know that sounds simplistic but we need to respond and serve not just other parish officials but the people, the businesses of this parish.
“My third goal is to advance the goals of the parish. Let’s go all in. Let’s go all Acadia.”
“I’ve been a resident of Acadia Parish for 61 years,” said Trahan. “I know that there are a lot of issues in Acadia Parish such as roads, bridges and employees. One of the more important issues we face is the road to our landfill.
“There are a lot of issues in District 4 and I’m proud to represent them as well as all of Acadia Parish. In the future I would like to repair our road and bridge system we would like to use our chip sealing equipment more, which we haven’t been using for unknown reasons.
“I would like to hire a team of people to work year-round on our roads and bridges. We need to train these people to use our chip sealing equipment properly. This is all going through my head because it’s been on my mind for the past four years.
“I’ve represented everyone who called me regardless of what district they called from. As you can see I don’t have anything written and I’m not short of words when I’m aggravated and maybe if someone aggravated me I’d speak much more,” Trahan joked.
“If we would all pull together as one we could get stuff done,” he continued. “We have spent a lot of unnecessary money in the last four years. We need to tend to our landfill. I’m not a money-spending man and we’ve spent millions on equipment. I’d appreciate your vote on October 24.”
District 5 candidate Aleke Kanonu spoke next.
“First of all, one problem that I have is that we have not faced the issues that are very important,” he said. “As I walked, I have talked, to all districts. As some of you know I work as a mailman. I’m a rural carrier for Branch, Mire, Rayne and all of Acadia Parish. I have seen damaged roads that we have put Band-Aids on. Instead of spending money where it needs to be spent we are just patching things up.
“We have drainage problems. A farm is one of our best ways to helping with the drainage problems. As a farmer has to farm he also has to drain.
“I am asking for your support so we can face the main issues and not the little issues. Ask any police juror and they’ll tell you that they have a list of things that need to be completed. A list that was made in 2012. None of the things on this list are complete. So I’m asking for your support.”
District 6 candidates Tony Broussard, A.J. “Jay” Credeur, and Richard Faul spoke next.
“After being approached by some of the most respected members of our community, I decided to run for police jury,” Brosusard said. “I’m for term limits for police jurors. Two terms and you’re out. I’m against corruption. I’m also against favoritism.
“I’m about being proactive and facing problems before they occur. I believe in serving all citizens equally, no matter what your standing is or what position you hold in society. It doesn’t matter if you’re a renter, a land owner or a fortunate owner of hundreds of acres, I will represent all citizens equally.
“I will not allow any person, business or entity to move in next to you and take away the enjoyment of your property. I will back our officers to ensure that we have adequate patrols and response times so that we can better serve the citizens of our parish. Currently, where I reside, if you call the sheriff’s department it takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half for response. That’s not good enough.
“The problems of our parish cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created the problems in this parish. I believe that a man’s word is his honor. With me, it’s black or white, there is no gray area. I’ll never put my phone away because that’s not the way you represent this parish. The character of a man is revealed by how he treats people if they cannot hurt him or cannot help him.”
“I was born in Mire and raised there all my life,” began Credeur. “We have a lot of issues in Acadia Parish. Roads are number one and, as Dale said, the landfill is very important as well. We cannot have garbage stacking up across our parish. Under our administration, we brought in garbage trucks that have an automatic pick up.
“We chip sealed a number of miles of road. Mr. Broussard said it was around $12 million but I think it was more like $20 million. We bought the chip sealing equipment because it would save money. We did about 60 miles of road about nine years ago and that 60 miles cost us $1,050,000 to do and that was to existing blacktop road. We bought the chip sealing equipment after seeing what Evangeline Parish was doing and that saved us a lot of money.
“The last three and a half years we haven’t used that equipment and we don’t want to see our roads in deplorable condition. We need these roads to get to people with heart attacks and other emergencies. This country was built on ‘United We Stand and Divided We Fall.’ Everyone together, united, we can be the best we’ve ever been. I’d like to ask you to vote for A.J. Credeur on October 24.”
“I’m not going to get into the gloom and doom of the parish because we have some positive things going on,” said Faul. “We have plans in place that we need to get kick started.
“Two weeks ago they had a forum in Church Point where we were asked about the economic development of Acadia Parish. As kind of a shock, what kind of development have we had? People keep saying that Lafayette is busting at the seems and it’s just a matter of time. But they’re wrong. They are going north to St. Landry Parish and south to Iberia Parish.
“In Acadia Parish we have to offer something. Acadia Parish has a gold mine in I-10 that needs to be tapped into. The City of Crowley has started. The city of Rayne has started, but we need more. The day’s going to come where we could use something like a Bass Pro Shop.
“If you think about it if Acadia Parish grows as a whole, then District 6 stands to profit. There are positive things in the parish, one of which is economic development.
“Everybody knows about the problems between the jurors, the roads, the mosquitoes. That’s old hat. That’s one of my biggest goals. I want to tell everybody that I’m a team player. Please go vote on October 24.”
The final two races on the agenda were Districts 7 and 8. District 7 candidates Marron Lollis and David Savoy spoke first.
“Whatever I do, I take it seriously,” said Lollis. “I believe in getting things done. There are a lot of candidates who have given us a lot of promises and a lot of excuses. I’m not one of those. I believe in doing my best.
“I have talked to many people in District 7. I have heard their complaints about mosquitoes, drainage, incomplete jobs and ‘Children at Play’ signs. I have the same complaints. It’s time for a change.
“I want to be your next police juror. I have worked at the school board, working for children at 19 schools. I’m a pastor’s wife. I was a commissioner. My name is Marron Lollis and I ask for your vote in the upcoming election.”
“I’ve been a member of District 7 all my life,” said Savoy. “I’ve worked as a crawfish farmer and I’ve worked very hard my whole life. I enjoy listening to people.
“I’ve been on numerous committees including Solid Waste and Mosquito Control. We have numerous problems, such as moving slowly. That’s not the fault of the police jury. It’s the fault of the system itself.
“We do get along on that jury. Things are getting done. Our chip seal equipment has not been used because of the quality of work that was being done. It does not pay to fix a road that you’re just going to have to go back and replace. We have to find a way to work together.
“Let me say something about ‘not getting along.’ Every governing body has arguments. We argue, sure. But governing takes time. I humbly ask for your vote on October 24.”
District 8 candidates Robert Guidry and Felton ‘Tony’ Moreau were the final speakers.
“On October 24 I humbly appreciate asking you to be re-elected to the police jury for the District 8 seat,” said Guidry. “We have two candidates running for District 8. I’m a resident of Acadia Parish and my domicile is in Acadia Parish, unlike my opponent who resides in St. Landry Parish.”
“I was previously a juror 12 years ago and I am a resident of Acadia Parish,” said Moreau. “Judge Trahan proved that. I had to go to court.
“District 8 is a rural area. The constituents want to know when they are going to get their roads repaired. Chip sealing works fine if it’s done right.
“Our fire districts need to be taken care of. When we need anything there’s grant money that can be obtained. Same thing for our drainage board. I know that the Chamber of Commerce ... we have to work with them to get funding.
“When I was on the jury we got lighting in our district. We need to work together. I ask for your vote on October 24.”
The Chamber wanted to be sure to thank the sponsors who helped to put on the forum - Encore Healthcare and Rehabilitation, First National Bank, St. Martin Bank & Trust, Carmichaels Pharmacy, Evangeline Bank and the Grand Opera House.