By Michelle Bates
Voters were given the opportunity to learn more about the candidates in which they will cast their ballots.
Hosted by the Shady Grove Recreation District on Saturday, Sept. 2, a political forum was held to allow voters to hear from the candidates for sheriff, police jury district 7 and the assessor’s office.
Henry Ford and Incumbent Bienville Parish Sheriff John Ballance answered questions posed by the moderator and from the audience. Both Ballance and Ford said they want a safer community, and while Ballance said he’s been working toward that goal for the last 20-plus years, he offers programs and help where he can.
Ford said it was about bringing the community together through programs for the youth and community policing.
Ballance said they are addressing the issue of school shootings through the mass shooting drills that are done, now through the Bienville Parish School Board. Each school also has a School Resource Officer to respond to any issues or threats made at a school.
Ford said the sheriff’s office needs to address the gun issue in the community, gun safety through classes and gun buy-backs, which help deter school shootings.
Ballance and Ford both want the same things – peace in the community – and while Ballance has implemented various programs to work toward that goal, Ford believes the sheriff’s office could do more.
Two candidates for Bienville Parish Police Jury District 7 talked about making sure they are accessible to their constituents. Incumbent Raymond Malone said part of his duty to his constituents is making sure they have safe roads in which to travel and being available to address any concerns they have. Candidate Keith Duck said while doesn’t know all the ins and outs of the police jury duties, his main focus
would be on being accessible and letting constituents know what’s going on in District 7 and how the police jury is addressing those concerns.
Three candidates are vying for the Bienville Parish Assessor’s Office since the announcement of the retirement of Carol Brown, current assessor. Ricardo Moore, Tyler Nutt and Catherine Perritt all said the most important thing is making sure the public has access to their property records and being available to work with them on any concerns they may have. Perritt and Nutt both work for the assessor’s office,
both as certified deputy assessors. While Nutt has spent time in the field, he says his experience has taught him that many in the parish are “in the dark” about what the assessor’s office does. Moore said he wanted to educate others on the assessment process, while Perritt talked about making sure that the assessor’s office was efficient and continued to offer top notch services to the public.
Another political forum will be at 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 25, at the Arcadia Events Center, sponsored by the Arcadia Bienville NAACP, along with the Grambling Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
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