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Police Jury candidates respond to queries

Sunday, November 3, 2019
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Early voting for the Nov. 16 runoff election began Saturday, Nov. 2, and included in the list of races are the final four Lincoln Parish Police Jury seats to be decided.

The Ruston Leader reached out to each of these remaining eight candidates before early voting and presented them with the same three questions to remind voters of their platforms, qualifications and capabilities.

Answers from candidates in Districts 4 and 5 are recorded below. Candidates for Districts 1 and 3 were featured on the Friday, Nov. 1 edition of the Leader.

In District 4, incumbent and Police Jury President Randy Roberson (RDubach) drew three fewer votes than challenger T.J. Cranford (R-Dubach). Both men pulled in 46% of the vote in the three-way primary and face each other in the runoff.

Meanwhile, District 5 incumbent David Hammons was soundly defeated by newcomers Logan Hunt (R-Ruston) and Brandon Milner (RChoudrant). Hunt garnered 48% of the primary vote to Milner’s 35%.

District 4

Q: One of the main topics for the police jury currently is managing the budget. Why do you think you’re the best candidate to help tackle that challenge next term?

Cranford: As a small business owner, one of the things I tackle everyday is my budget at the store. I have to be able to manage, make moves and cuts, and do what has to be done. I can bring that experience with me to the table.

I think we need to go through the budget with a fine-toothed comb, picking through and looking at every line to make sure everything is being spent properly, before we look at any type of raising taxes to go up on the budget.

Roberson: I’m just completing my 16th year on the police jury, so I’m experienced. I’ve served on almost all committees, including the finance committee.

I have a pretty thorough knowledge of the budget, where it’s going and where it needs to go. I think we’ll be OK if we don’t have any more drastic changes.

Q: In talking with the people of your district, what have you found are their biggest concerns, and what would you do about them?

Cranford: The biggest two concerns that I hear are the dumpsters and the road ditches.

The ditches aren’t’ being mowed properly. We used to mow them three times a year, and we had magnificent roads.

Now, in most of the area in my District 4, sometimes you can’t even see when you go to pull out of an intersection. You have to ease out of an intersection before you can see if anybody’s coming. Those are safety issues we need to address.

With dumpsters, we have those four ‘“mega sites” in the parish. And on a Saturday morning when you’re cleaning out some big items, if you don’t get to the landfill before noon, it’s closed. But if we could go to the mega sites and make a space, a corner, for non-household garbage, then there’d be no excuse for throwing them in the dumpsters.

Roberson: One of the surprising things I keep running into is the condition of the state highways. I’m trying to get through to people that we don’t have anything to do with repair and maintenance of the state highways. It really has surprised me.

Depending on the area, sometimes there’s concern about messing up the dumpsters. I tell people all the time, “If you see something, call.” It’s an enforcement issue. We need to engage the sheriff’s department and local law enforcement to help us with enforcement.

Q: What do you believe sets you apart as a candidate?

Cranford: I really think it’s my small business background, running and managing my own business. I’ve had one for 10 years now and another for four years.

I grew up in business and managing, and I really think that will help me out tremendously when it comes to managing the budget. I think that’s one of my big assets to bring to the table, along with my care and love for Lincoln Parish.

Roberson: I’m a rural person, and the police jury does most of its work in rural areas. I represent and support the rural people.

I’m conservative, I watch spending, and try to avoid excessive taxation. I try to have respect for the taxpayers of the parish, because we could not do what we do without them.

District 5

Q: One of the main topics for the police jury currently is managing the budget. Why do you think you’re the best candidate to help tackle that challenge next term?

Hunt: My practical, real-life business experience. I work with budgets and manage client revenue every day.

I have strong problem-solving skills and relational skills as well, which is going to be important as we move forward. It’s going to be a team effort. There are going to be a lot of new jurors, and so the relational side is going to be huge, so that the jury can work well together to solve the budget issues.

Milner: I’m aware that the money the police jury spends is the people’s money. I have handled budgets for more than 10 years, in every agency I’ve worked for.

I’ve always been a servant to the people, and I realize the police jury doesn’t have openended checks. We need to make conscious decisions when spending the people’s money. I don’t believe in spending outside your needs or capabilities.

Q: In talking with the people of your district, what have you found are their biggest concerns, and what would you do about them?

Hunt: Trash at the dumpster sites has really been one of the largest concerns. Everybody’s fired up about it.

I’ve thrown around the idea of having large, manned compactor sites. We could consolidate the locations and make them fenced with cameras, lights, and gates.

That’s my view, but I’m not stuck on it. I’m not against curbside pickup either — I think we need to look into the feasibility of both of them. And I would think the best way would be collaboration with the city of Ruston.

I think we’ve got a lot of negotiating to do in the future. There’s no sense in duplication of effort when we can have agreements to combine our resources.

Milner: One of their concerns is having a juror who is committed to them — open and available to the people’s wants and needs, not serving his own agenda. Someone who will be able to get out into the district and see what’s needed and what’s being done.

I don’t have an 8-to-5 job that’s going to tie me up. My only purpose will be to serve and represent the people of my district to the best of my ability and address some of the issues, such as litter, roads and taxes.

Q: What do you believe sets you apart as a candidate?

Hunt: I think again that it’s my business experience and the budgeting, administration, and long-term planning skills that come from that experience. I think we’ve lacked that somewhat in the past, and I look forward to bringing that into the new jury, working with all 12 jurors to move the parish forward and put us in a good spot.

Milner: My 13 years as a public servant sets me apart, as well as my ability to listen and work with all people.

I will be available 24/7 to represent any and every need of my district and this parish. Just because it seems like a small issue to me, it may be the biggest thing going on in that constituent’s life, and it needs to be treated that way.