(American Press Archives)
Last Modified: Thursday, April 20, 2017 3:49 PM
Candidates in the run-off for Lake Charles City Council seats B, C and F spoke about their plans for office Wednesday before the start of a mayoral forum at the SEED Center.
The event was co-hosted by Chamber Southwest Louisiana and The Alliance for Positive Growth. Five of the six candidates spoke; incumbent Rodney Geyen of District C did not attend.
Incumbent Luvertha August received the most votes, 39 percent, of the five competing candidates in the March 25 election. Nicole Moncrief was next in line, with 30 percent of the vote.
August cited her six years on the Calcasieu Police Jury, nine years on the council and experience as an educator as qualifiers for the job.
She said her two main goals for office are completing a “major overhaul” of Enterprise Boulevard between 12th Street and Broad and developing the Nellie Lutcher Cultural District downtown.
Moncrief, a human resource representative at Sasol, said she would work to spur growth at new and existing businesses in north Lake Charles and to reduce crime in the area.
“Part of my job requires me to look at gaps and areas of opportunity, and I believe I can use those skills and abilities to bring our full council together,” Moncrief said.
Four candidates in March challenged incumbent Rodney Geyen’s longtime position on the council. He garnered 44 percent of the vote, while Eric Doshier garnered 27 percent.
Doshier said his three years of experience on the city’s zoning commission, his stint on a city committee for improving race relations, and his steady job at Westlake Chemical, formerly PPG Industries, for 28 years qualifies him for the job.
He said he would work to increase policing in his district, add lighting, rid the area of abandoned buildings and develop incentives for new and existing businesses.
“We all can take solace at times from sitting on the sidelines and just observing, or we can step in and try to make a difference, and that’s what I’m about,” Doshier said.
Six candidates competed to fill the seat left vacant by councilman Dana Jackson, who chose not to run for reelection in order to run for mayor. Johnnie Thibodeaux led the pack with 26 percent of the vote, and Rick McClain followed with 20 percent.
Thibodeaux, a self-described “McNeese guy,” touts a record of community involvement as a former teacher, coach and employee in the sporting goods business for 33 years. He’s also a member of the McNeese Football Hall of Fame.
He said he’s on his third walkthrough of the district, recording issues he will address if elected, and that his focus will be allocating funds to drainage.
“I think the average citizen is more concerned about getting access to their home after a hard rain than they are about what we’ll develop on the lakefront at this particular time,” Thibodeaux said.
McClain cited 35 years in ministry, 10-plus years on the Hamilton Christian Academy School Board and involvement with the local Red Cross as qualifiers for the job.
He said he would focus on making long-term investments that would yield large returns down the line.
“We always seem to be playing catching up; we never seem to be planning for what our needs are going to be 20 years from now,” McClain said.
Early voting lasts through Saturday April 22, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. To view the full ballot and polling locations, visit www.geauxvote.com.