One on one with LC mayoral candidates

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - With just four days and counting until election day, candidates for Lake Charles mayor hit the streets looking for votes.

Elected mayor in 2000, incumbent Randy Roach is asking voters to elect him to a third term. The former state representative brings with him more than 20 years experience to the post.

"We've accomplished a lot in the last four years, but that four years was kind of interrupted by hurricane recovery," said Roach.

Challenging Roach is Billy Pharr. While this is Pharr's first time to seek elected office, he says his business experience as a risk manager with Louisiana companies makes him more than qualified.

"I am not a politician and I think that lends a lot to this job," said Pharr.

It's a job that will require promoting economic development and managing 90-million dollars in bond projects for improvements to the lakefront and downtown.

"I want to see that bond money spent in a timely fashion. When the projects get delayed, they end up ultimately costing more money than what was originally budgeted so I think spending that money in a timely fashion helps hold down the ultimate cost of the job," said Pharr.

While some would like to see more dirt moving on the lakefront, Roach says his administration is right on schedule to the commitment made to voters in May 2007 with nearly 35-million dollars in projects under contract - including the lakefront promenade and a new marina.

"You have to plan it right and you have to do it right. We have one lakefront and if we don't do it right then we are going to be sorry and I don't want to look back four years from now and say we should have, would have, could have," explained Roach.

Come this Saturday -- your vote will decide -- so who will it be?

The new kid on the block:

"We have a can do spirit in Lake Charles. Billy Pharr wants to run this city like a business. When we get into office we're going to hit the ground running, and there's going to be some change in the office," said Pharr.

Or the familiar face who wants a chance to see it through.

"It all focuses on people and people are really the best part of this job. That's what I enjoy doing. That's why I'm running for mayor and that's what I would like to do over the next four years. And hopefully we won't have to deal with hurricanes over the next four years and we can truly focus on those things that are really important," said Roach.

The polls open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Stay tuned to KPLC and as we'll of course begin airing the results when returns come in. We'll also have live coverage from both mayoral candidates headquarters as well as full coverage of other races on the ballot.