Meet the candidates: Calcasieu Parish Police Jury District 2

Published 10:36 am Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Editor’s note: The American Press asked Calcasieu Parish Police Jury candidates to answer the same two-part question to help voters in their districts make up their minds on Saturday, Oct. 14. The following article includes the response from seven of the 14 candidates, in the order listed on the website. The next printed edition of the paper will have the responses from the remaining seven candidates.

Here’s how they answered the question, “If you are limited to accomplishing only one goal if you are elected to office, what is the one thing you would like to accomplish, and how would you do it?”

Shawntel Carter-Willis

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I have lived in Lake Charles most of my life. While some of the city has grown, north Lake Charles has not. If I am elected to the office of Police Jury in District 2, I want to have traction on several projects. Impact the number of uninhabitable homes in the community; make sure that we have a resourceful and accessible library, better roads, and sidewalks, push for our community to have beautiful recreation facilities, including pool access, AC in the jails, finish projects that were promised, to name a few.

However, the one thing I will absolutely accomplish is being a VOICE for the community, not just speaking to say something but a VOICE in local government. We need a VOICE. Having a voice is what forces change. A voice holding local government leaders accountable. A voice communicating to the public of budgets and plans. A voice that will listen and address concerns with feedback. A community with a voice sees measurable progress. If I am elected, I will make the constituents’ concerns known and do everything in my power to act and ensure constituents know what is happening and why. I will create a platform for those in the district to keep up with decisions being made by the local government and the progress of projects in the district and the city.

Emile LeVon

If limited to accomplishing only one goal if elected to office, I would focus on establishing programs and initiatives that foster intergenerational knowledge  exchange to bridge the gap between different age groups, promote mutual understanding, and  harness the collective wisdom and experiences of each generation.

Relationships would be established by using community-based platforms that facilitate  meaningful interaction between different generations. These platforms would include regular  town hall meetings, workshops, or mentorship programs, where individuals from different age  groups come together to share their perspectives, experiences and solutions.

Additionally, knowledge would be gained by leveraging advancements in  technology and educational reforms for the development of digital platforms that connect  younger and older generations. These platforms could facilitate virtual discussions, online  courses, or collaborative projects, breaking geographical barriers and allowing individuals to  learn from one another regardless of physical location. I would advocate for curriculum reforms  through interactive projects involving students and older community members. This would  enable both groups to share their expertise and develop a deeper understanding of each other’s perspectives.

Bridging the generational gap and promoting intergenerational knowledge exchange is  a crucial step towards building a united and cohesive society. By accomplishing this goal,  community engagement platforms, educational reforms, technology-driven initiatives, and  community events would be implemented to facilitate meaningful interactions and foster  mutual understanding. Through these efforts, we can bridge the gap between generations and  create a society that stands together, powerful and engaged for a greater cause, to be the change.

Mike Smith

Affordable housing is my goal.

As we continue to rebuild our community, city, and parish, affordable housing is a basic right and I want to ensure that every District 2 resident has access to safe affordable homes. Businesses can only develop, grow, and thrive with affordable housing and more people in the area.

I currently serve on the steering committee of Project Build a Future that will construct 22 single-family homes on Fitzenreiter and Pear Street. The committee will have input from groundbreaking to completion on all the homes built in the subdivision.

As a member of the Advisory Board the Calcasieu Council on Aging, I will continue to help the expansion of Senior citizens living throughout the community by providing safe and affordable housing. The newest development will be a 24-unit apartment complex on Broad Street.

One of the subcommittees I serve as Police Juror is the Human Service Advisory Board. I have served on the board for 4 years. We issue Project Based Vouchers, which landlords and developers can use to subsidize rental costs on new construction.  There are many housing programs available to the citizens of Calcasieu through the Human Services Department.

I work closely with the Calcasieu Parish Public. Trust Authority by reviewing housing projects and developments that might qualify for the PILOT program in lease agreements to developers for providing affordable housing.

I will continue to work with the Louisiana Housing Corporation and USDA Rural to locate and entice investors and developers to build within District 2.

As I seek my second term, I will continue to find ways to bring more housing, which will bring more people which will benefit the schools, parks, new library, and overall quality of life. Every person deserves a place to call home.