After 28 years on the city council, John Earl Leblanc is now the new mayor of Erath. His post comes after last year's death of former mayor George Dupuis, who served three terms. Leblanc says it's an honor to serve his community.
"I was very humbled by the support I received. I had 66% of the vote, which was unbelievable," said Leblanc.
Among the many tasks ahead, Leblanc says he wants to reduce electrical rates, expand their aging sewage system, and look into a recycling program. He says economic development is slow, but a priority. The newest in the works is Erath's first Family Dollar store, which he says will help with their sales tax revenue.
"This is the first step with this new Family Dollar coming into play," said Leblanc. "So, hopefully this is just the beginning."
And a bigger issue, as far as the future goes, is attracting a younger generation to work, live, and stay. Leblanc is hoping their A-plus schools will attract budding families to settle down.
"We've seen some of the revitalization off Broadway where we've had younger people buy some of the older homes. So, that's a good sign there," said Leblanc.
He says the best part of running a small town—he's accessible and can really listen to what his constituents want in their community.
"I've always had an open door policy," said LeBlanc. "My phone number is listed in the phonebook."
Leblanc will officially be sworn into office April 16th.