LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It’s the end of Nic Hunter’s first term as Mayor of Lake Charles, and now, he’s hoping to serve another four years.
In just 16 days, four candidates will be vying for the city’s top job. We’ve introduced you to the first three candidates hoping to be elected for the first time but now we’re hearing from the incumbent on his new platform.
Nic Hunter, a registered Republican, assumed the role of mayor back in 2017 replacing longtime Mayor Randy Roach. Hunter says despite the pandemic and back-to-back storms, he wants to continue leading the city.
”Comparing this election to four years ago, there are some similarities, there are some differences,” Hunter said. “At the end of the day, our citizens are going to have their say and we’re going to respect whatever decision they make.
During his first four years in office, Hunter says his administration has tackled a number of projects. Some a success and others still in progress...due to the ongoing pandemic.
”If you were to ask me four years ago, ‘Could I predict what would have occurred in my first term?’ there’s no way,” said Hunter. “Now, it takes on a whole new aura, because hurricane recovery is our biggest issue right now.”
If re-elected, Hunter says his goals for the future will surround new development and infrastructure needs in light of another hurricane season.
“We are hardening our assets right now to make sure we are ready for the next hurricane season. The damage that was brought on us, we want to make sure we are ready,” said Hunter. “We also just can’t wait on FEMA dollars. We’re going to continue to spend drainage dollars to make sure our infrastructure underground is as ready as it can be.”
He credits some of his biggest achievements to increasing infrastructure spending by 40 percent. However, he still has stones left to be turned over after his first term.
”I have a disappointment because of the pandemic and hurricanes. We weren’t able to break ground on the lakefront, but those projects are still happening.”
Going forward, he says he wants to extend community programs like Partners & Parks and cater more to local youth.
”We have some serious concerns. Government has a role to play, however, government cannot be the only answer,” Hunter said. “Any local agency, civic organization, church and community leader that is willing to partner with my administration to accomplish that common goal - that’s how we’re going to see progress, I believe.”
Nic Hunter previously served as Calcasieu Police Jury President before being elected mayor in 2017.
TOP PRIORITIES FOR CITY OF LAKE CHARLES: “Port Wonder and Crying Eagle are on pause right now because of the pandemic...it makes no sense to break ground on projects like that but they’re still happening.”
“In my next term, I’m looking forward to fully checking that box and I expect that at the end of my next term we will be able to stand on the lakefront and look at Port Wonder and bustling activity....that will happen.”
“Infrastructure--Over the course of my administration, we have increased infrastructure spending by over 40%.”
“If you look at the numbers over the last 4 years compared to the 4 years before I came into office, you see a 40% increase in infrastructure and 400% increase in drainage infrastructure.”
“Quality of life matters--we want to be a welcoming city. We want people to want to live here but in order to achieve that, we have to take care of our infrastructure.”
“Community Outreach--“We have the first Boys & Girls Club in Lake Charles in the last 30-40 years and that’s because of my administration’s Partners & Parks program.”
“We have seen amazing upgrades in aesthetics and programming and we did that by encouraging the private sectors to donate money. We didn’t throw a tax on the ballot.”
“Partners & Parks has brought in over 3/4 of a million dollars to the city from the private sector with no additional burden to the taxpayer.”
MORE FROM HUNTER’S INTERVIEW:
“If you brought the story of Lake Charles to a Hollywood producer and pitched it as a movie...he might say that’s a little too much.”
“You can’t always control what happens to you but you can control how you react to it.”
“My office is going to continue partnering with any agency that we can.”
“We are going to be a loud voice for Lake Charles.”
“We have achieved milestones in DC that people said we would never achieve.”
“This time right now is one of our most important hours. It would be the worst time to slam the breaks on the progress that has been made, on the relationships that have been developed...”
“Let me continue to be an advocate and make sure we’re capitalizing on every available dollar for Lake Charles.”
“I would be honored to have the opportunity to serve again as mayor of this great city and I have great respect for everyone else that’s thought that they want to do the same.”
“This is our system of government here in America and it is everyone’s right to run for office if they meet the qualifications.”
CLICK HERE: March 20 election: What’s on the ballot
March 20 is an open municipal election in Louisiana, as well as a congressional primary, however, in most of Southwest Louisiana’s parishes, there will only be local items on the ballot.
Early voting is from March 6-13.