Editor's note: The Leesville Daily Leader reached out to all candidates via phone numbers registered on the public database. Anyone officially running for city or parish governmental seat, who wishes to be included, should contact Chris Schoonover as soon as possible at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor of Leesville, Rick Allen
Rick Allen is running to be re-elected as the Mayor of Leesville for his second term and is running against Roland Huson for the spot. Allen is proud of his accomplishments while in office, which include bringing Champion Mobile Homes to the city. "It's taken 3 years to secure Champion Mobile Homes into Leesville Industrial Park," he said. "That, alone, is 225 jobs for Vernon Parish and the city of Leesville. That's a huge milestone, and the industrial park was costing the city of Leesville $3,500 to keep the utilities on, for insurance purposes. For 16 years, that facility sat vacant. I know the previous administrations did try and get some businesses to come in, but we were able to do that." Another thing Allen is excited about is a meeting he has in February in San Diego with upper level Army officials in hopes of securing a P3 initiative with Fort Polk that will lower the cost of training and stationing troops. Allen also said that Kentucky Fried Chicken will coming to Leesville and plans are being submitted to the zoning board. Allen says over his time in office that he has learned about the process that it takes to make things happen. "Nothing happens quickly," he said. "Everything you do is completely wrapped up in red tape. It takes a long time to unravel that tape."
New Llano Chief of Police: Danny Hunt
Danny Hunt, who grew up in Leesville, is running for the Chief of Police of New Llano with the goal of expanding the police department to better assist the community. Hunt would also like to have a better relationship with the community members of New Llano. He has been the Police Chief for 12 years says he will, if elected, continue to serve the community with pride and integrity.
City of Leesville District 4, Phillip Hunt
Phillip Hunt is running for the City of Leesville District 4 chair against current council member Anthony Shapkoff. Hunt has been in management for over 20 years and owns rental properties in Leesville and New Llano. He would like to see the city grow and thinks the city needs to enforce its ordinances on keeping the city clean. He would also like the to help improve the city's budget. Hunt has a sense of civic pride stemming from being from the area. "It comes from living here and being proud of being from Leesville. My family is from Leesville," Hunt said. "My family has had businesses here from before I was born. I am proud of what Leesville is and what I want it to be. I want to see it grow. It's a wonderful town and I love Leesville for everything it is. Sometimes, you hear people say bad things about it because of its history. I want that to change. It's not the Leesville of 1970's. It's the Leesville of 2018."
Mayor of Leesville, Roland Huson
Roland Huson is running against current mayor Rick Allen for the Mayor of Leesville. Huson first came to the area in 2002 as a Sergeant First Class in the Army and was assigned to the special operations training detachment at the Joint Readiness Training Center. After spending four and a half years at Fort Polk, he was stationed throughout the country and overseas before returning to the area with his wife and children. Currently, Huson is an administrator in high education, and with his background in administration, was encouraged to run for mayor by a group of veterans. "As someone that is going to viewed as an outsider and viewed as a long-shot candidate, there are certain members of that community that kept telling me to do it," he said. "Since I've gotten into the process of qualifying, I've made some observations that the actions of government are clear enough." Huson would like a transparent and honest government to aid the city. "I think it would be foolish to promise X,Y and Z, because there are some fiscal restraints right now," Huson said. "When I drive down the road and see boarded up shops and for lease, from my perspective, there's a concentration of power in wealth that is counterproductive to growth. As long as that continues and people are helping themselves, Leesville is not really going to take off." Huson says if he had to sum up his platform it would be compassion, integrity and accountability.
Mayor of New Llano, Denis Jordan
Denis Jordan is running for Mayor of New Llano after calling the town home for the last seven years.
He was born in Germany in an Army hospital and grew up in Europe before joining the military.
Formerly a police officer with the New Llano Police Department, Jordan is building his platform on transparency and making the best decisions for the town. "My main goal is to quit taking these Band-Aid approaches to the problems that are plaguing the town and find long-term solutions," Jordan said. "We need be financially responsible and to create a transparent budget that everyone understands what is going on with the money in our town." He would also like to build stronger relationships with Leesville and Fort Polk and to make it business and resident friendly. "I live here because it's a great town to have my kids and raise my family here, and we need to get everyone to see how great our town is," Jordan said. He has no previous political experience nor has he ever ran for public office, but says he has the best interests at heart for the community.
City of Leesville District 2, Willie Mae Kennedy
Willie Mae Kennedy is running unopposed in for the District 2 chair in Leesville for her third term.
She prides herself on being a community servant and being a voice for those in her district. "I have a lot of energy, and I like people," she said. "I tell all the people in my district that we are in this together. I need them, and they need me. In order for us to grow, we need to be on same page. We need to have good community communication skills and learn to listen." Kennedy grew up in the area, which makes her want to keep it area clean and encourage others to do so. She is active in the community, including volunteering at the Byrd Regional Hospital. Wants to be known as an active community servant. She believes the biggest thing the city needs to work on is bringing jobs and development to the city.
City of Leesville, District 1 Chris Robertson
Chris Robertson, from Leesville, is running for the City of Leesville District 1 chair. He is running unopposed, but would like to continue and improve the development in the city. "We have a lot of projects in the works, I'd we would like to continue growing them. We need to keep expanding our city limits and getting businesses into town," he said. He believes the administration that is in place now has done well at creating relationships with other area governments, something not in place previously. "The main focus that we had as a group, was putting the city first in what we do. I think we've done that," Robertson said.
City of Leesville District 4, Anthony Shapkoff
Anthony Shapkoff is running for the City of Leesville District 4 seat against Phillip Hunt. Shapkoff has been the representative for District 4 for the last four years. He was born and raised in Leesville before going to Northwestern State University. Shapkoff owns Vernon Moving and Storage and employs 35-55 people throughout the year. During his time in office, he says he has helped the community with street improvements and fixing water leaks. "It's an ongoing process and works needs to continue to be done," Shapkoff said. "My focus will be on streets and the water system. We want to bring businesses into Leesville. I just want to continue to serve the people." Since Champion Mobile Homes has began to operate in the city, Shapkoff sees the need for businesses coming to the city. He says they need to make the city for business friendly, including improving the streets and improving the water system.
New Llano Town Council, Carolyn Todd
Carolyn Todd is running to retain a spot on the the New Llano Town Council. She has been in the area for 32 years and wants to meet the needs of the people in the New Llano. During her time on the council, she is proud that they acquired more land for the town and have established their own water system. "The best thing we could have done," she said about the new water system. "I'm not being negative about where we got our water from, but it's good to have our own. That's something we've been working on for quite some time." Todd would like to bring more businesses to the town and does not like to make any promises, but rather just addressing what the community needs.
"I've always had a platform of not making any promises, but doing that best I can with whatever comes up. To be fair, compassionate about the needs of the people." Todd says her will to help the residents is what makes her want to serve. "I live in this community, and I've always had a compassion for the people," Todd said. "I just want to be part of the community and what goes on in it."
City of Leesville District 3, Nicole Ybarra
Nicole Ybarra is running for the City of Leesville District 3 seat against Danny Dowd with the goal of bringing better communication between the people of District 3 and the city council. "We need to reach out to people in the district," she said. "I will definitely make myself available to the people in the district. I think that's a problem we've had in our district for a while." She believes the city and the district need to focus on communication and positive growth. Her background is in the medical profession in pharmacy and is also a notary.