Candidates for St. Landry Parish president face runoff

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OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY)- Two candidates are vying the president’s seat in St. Landry Parish.

The seat will be held for the next term by either incumbent St. Landry Parish President Bill Fontenot or current St. Landry Parish council member Ken Marks.

Both Fontenot and Marks are life-long St. Landry parish residents. And neither are new to politics.

Marks has 20 years of municipal experience— serving for 16 years in the Port Barre Town Council. And most recently, going on four years as a parish council member.

He says it’s been during this time, he’s found a lack of vision, among the other problems, that prompted him to want to run. If elected, Marks says he wants to focus mainly on three things:

“The first would be the fiscal responsibility and accountability that we know is not there. And we need to have that, and we’ll have that, going forward,” Marks said.

Secondly, he wants to focus on drainage.

“The drainage problems that we have in our parish. Over 60-65 years of neglect,” Marks said. “We need to have someone at the table representing our parish getting those projects not just written down but funded and followed through with to make sure that we have that.”

He says his third focus, if elected, would be transparency.

“We need to make sure that our parish council members work regular and daily with our parish president. All the entities of government we need to function as a whole,” Marks said. “Each individually doing what they need to do but meeting regularly about the problems we have and how we can help resolve those problems.”

Incumbent candidate, Fontenot, has served as parish president for eight years. He says he wants to continue with what he’s done so far in office.

“I think I should continue because as a civil engineer and doing government work for many many years, I do realize it takes a while to complete projects,” Fontenot said.

Among some of the things he wants to continue working on.

“I have a major project going on which is the smooth ride home program. And for five years now, we’ve paved 325 miles of road. You can be sure I’m going to build upon that.”

Another issue he wants to keep pushing is drainage.

“Also I know you’ve heard of the grand watershed project that’s coming through the Acadiana Planning Commission,” Fontenot said. “I’m going to be vigorously involved in getting some of that money up here to St. Landry Parish so that way we can improve our drainage on the bigger channels, so that the smaller channels can work to improve drainage and mitigate flooding.”

Thirdly, Fontenot says he wants to continue focusing on bettering the parish’s animal shelter. This includes a new shelter facility.

“Even without the new shelter physically in place yet, we are turning that shelter, converting it into an animal rescue center,” Fontenot said. “Where these animals come in and we do not euthanize as much anymore. We are a no kill shelter basically. Where we used to euthanize 90 percent we’re euthanizing less than 10 percent of the animals and we’re finding homes for the animals.”

Early voting is currently open and will continue until Nov. 9.

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