LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - With the Oct. 12 election just around the corner, we asked the candidates for Calcasieu sheriff why they are running and what makes them the best candidate.
Elizabeth Carrier-Gray (D), incumbent Tony Mancuso (D), and Jimmy Richard (D) are on the ballot. We invited each of the candidates to participate.
For more on what’s on your ballot, click HERE.
For more on the election, visit kplctv.com/politics.elections
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF (EDUCATION, CAREER, PREVIOUS ELECTED POSITIONS, FAMILY, ETC.):
TONY MANCUSO: I’m married to Mickey Pruden Mancuso. We have three children, Trey, Mary and Morgan; 3 grandchildren; and 2 more on the way. I was born and raised in Calcasieu Parish. I graduated from McNeese State University, the National FBI Academy, and numerous other law enforcement schools. I have been involved in coaching my children on sports teams and have served on various community boards, both as board members and president of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association and chairman of the United Way.
I have been in law enforcement for 35 years. I was elected as Ward 3 City Marshal in 1996 and re-elected in 2002. After being elected Sheriff of Calcasieu Parish, I began my first term in 2004 and have been re-elected for four 4-year terms. I have been sheriff for 15 years.
JIMMY RICHARD: When I was 10 years of age, I joined the Junior Deputy Program in Lake Charles. I soon discovered that law enforcement was my calling and I learned at a very young age what an awesome opportunity it was for me to help others in the community. I would eagerly go every weekend to participate in this program not just to learn more about law enforcement but also to help others in need. This head start really took me in the direction of law enforcement and ever since then it was my heart’s desire to help the people of my community. The program was so instrumental in my life that I even had my kids enroll in it also.
I was born in a small town in St Landry Parish in 1961 and at approximately 6 months of age, my mother decided to make a major decision in our lives and decided to the move the family to Lake Charles. A smart move on her part and I’ve resided here ever since. I initially arrived to the city that I love with my four siblings, Charles, Tammy, Sandra, and Larry. And today, although I only have one surviving sister, she is a big blessing to my heart along with my mother Ruby and father Rev. Rucker who have also been a very big part of my life. Over the years I have been married twice which resulted in my being blessed with five wonderful children (all grown with families of their own). I also have 5 beautiful grandkids who are as equally awesome as their parents.
In 1979 I completed my studies at LaGrange HS and upon graduation was blessed with a plant job at Hercules (an oil refinery company). After about a year on the job, the company name changed to Himount USA and along with it, I was promoted to supervisor overseeing approximately 60 to 100 employees. I worked there faithfully for 16 years and absolutely enjoyed my time there but in the back of my mind, I never forgot about my love for law enforcement.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO ENTER THE RACE FOR SHERIFF OR CONTINUE YOUR DUTIES AS THE CURRENT SHERIFF?
TONY MANCUSO: It has been an honor to lead the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office and to work with an outstanding command staff that shares the same goals and philosophies. I want to continue what I have started by providing the safest community for us to raise our children and protect the ones we love. I feel that my experience and my proven record make me the best candidate for the job.
JIMMY RICHARD: I have dreamed of fulfilling the role of sheriff since my days as a Junior Deputy but actively started my campaign for the position in 2014 and although that bid fell short I envisioned that one day the door was going to open up for me again in this field. And that day is today. I just had to have the patience and the faith to recognize that it was coming and to be prepared knowing that God was going to do the rest. He will see me through it all. I am a firm believer of that. He placed me just where I needed to be on my journey and placed the right people in my path to groom me for my future position.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MAKES YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THIS POSITION?
TONY MANCUSO: The accomplishments of this office make me the best candidate. As Sheriff, I have brought this department from a mediocre agency to one of the best equipped and trained departments in the country. I believe the men and women of this department and the public, trust that I will put them first and will always do what is right
JIMMY RICHARD: I have previously run for political office and currently work at the Social Security office doing security for the past 21 years and I also possess over 15 years of service with the Sheriff’s Office. In my duties, I was so truly blessed to work with children and the community at large each and every day. I know in my heart that if I could do this 7 days a week I would enjoy it tremendously each and every day just to see a smile on the faces of the people I serve. In the course of my numerous interactions with the public, I know that I have had encounters with over 2 million people in the lines I have worked on both jobs. I also love having fellowship at other church homes on Sunday when I am not at my regular place of worship. Also, in my daily tasks, I just give it to God each and every day about all matters as He is in control.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PRIMARY GOALS SHOULD YOU BE ELECTED OR RE-ELECTED? WHAT SPECIFIC CHANGE(S) WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE?
TONY MANCUSO: I want to continue to build on the infrastructure of technology and equipment that helps empower both crime deterrents and solving crime. We need to continue to work closely with our kids to reduce juvenile crime.
JIMMY RICHARD: I would love to see our homeless people have a shelter to go to so they won’t have to be out in the elements and to also find them gainful employment in order for them to better their lives. I also want to see some closure for the families who have lost their dearly departed loved ones who were killed in senseless murders and work on getting some of the unnecessary political stuff out of office so that the deputy can do his or her job and get their self-esteem back so we can be team players and successfully complete whatever else needs to be done.