Meet the candidates Sulphur City Council District 2

Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 2:04 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 25, 2022 at 8:39 PM CDT
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Sulphur, LA (KPLC) - Mike Koonce and Nicholas Nezat are running for the City Council District 2 position in the only oppositional ticket on the Sulphur ballots.

Incumbent Mike Koonce is vying to continue representing his community on the council.

“I’m really interested in the city doing well,” Koonce said. “The people have given me three terms and working on my fourth one. I will continue to work hard and do my best for the city of Sulphur.”

Meanwhile, challenger Nicholas Nezat is vying to unseat Koonce.

“I’ve been a public servant for 15 years,” Nezat said. “I hate the word “politician” and I’m not a politician. You know, I worked for the sheriff’s office for 10 years, the da for two and the state of Louisiana for three.”

Both candidates hope to be a voice for District 2 while helping the city thrive.

“The water was a big problem but we got that fixed. I want to see that businesses in to workings and everybody can make a good living. I want to see us grow - we’re kind of stagnate right now because of the troubles and stuff we’ve had,” Koonce said.

“We need to get this town back up and running. You know, we need the infrastructure better. No business is going to want to come into Sulphur if the water’s brown, you know, if you have bad roads. There’s a lot of things that we’re having in district 2 that need to be fixed first as far as the infrastructure,” Nezat said.

Since this is the only seat up for grabs on Saturday’s ballot, both candidates are urging voters to hit the polls.

“I’d just like to encourage everybody to go out and vote Saturday, March 26 and we need a good turn out,” Koonce said.

“You know, the biggest thing I can tell people is, if you’re tired of the status quo, and you’re tired of the way things have been, get out and vote,” Nezat said.

Voters can head to the polls at 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 26.

In addition, 7News asked the candidates a series of questions:

What makes you qualified to be a voice for Sulphur City Council District 2?

Koonce: “I have served the citizens of District 2 for the past twelve years. I have always tried to be fair, transparent, and accessible in all issues that I have voted for or against. My experience in city government enables me to be available to work and listen to all citizens here in the City of Sulphur.”

Nezat: “A voice has been missing from District 2 for years. If the citizens of District 2 had someone to acknowledge and address their concerns, I would not be running. I have been a public servant for 15 years and will continue to be a servant for the citizens of District 2 and the entire city of Sulphur. I will stand up for the people that have been ignored and have had no voice or representation.”

What (if any) changes need to be made in the district?

Koonce: “District 2 needs to continue to see growth and changes in areas such as water quality, drainage, and improvements/maintenance of roads. We need to work together to help residents and businesses to make our area look inviting for not only people passing through but for those who live here as well.”

Nezat: “We need to work harder on cleaning up the district and quit making excuses. Sulphur can be more attractive to new businesses and people visiting looking to make Sulphur their home. We need to address and update our city codes and ordinances, and work with the community to help get things done. I envision volunteer days to help remove trash and debris from those that may be disabled, elderly, or those that cannot afford help. I will work with Sulphur City Court and Ward 4 Marshal to see if we can form a litter abatement team for those sentenced to community service.”

If elected, what do you plan on working on first?

Koonce: “If elected, I plan to keep our city moving in a positive direction by continuing to help residents of District 2 and our entire city by growing and attracting businesses for future development and expansion. This would help attract businesses, people, and allow jobs that would help increase our tax base.”

Nezat: “First and foremost, infrastructure. The infrastructure is like the foundation of a house. No matter how pretty, if the foundation is crumbling the house will fall. We must be proactive not reactive to fixing issues in the community, we should not wait until time for re-election to start making repairs. The incumbent has had 12 years to have these issues fixed. If you take a walk around District 2, you will see the orange stained streets, water leaks, and gravel covered pot holes all over.”

What plans do you have to retain existing families and attract new ones to District 2?

Koonce: “I believe we need to improve some of the “curb appeal” of areas around our neighborhoods and businesses to attract new businesses, which in return could offer a variety of job opportunities for families that are currently here and/or potential future citizens of the City of Sulphur.”

Nezat: “Family entertainment is major issue for me. As a father of three young children, we constantly battle with finding ways to keep them entertained. I would want to work closely with SPAR to update and improve the local parks and update green space for things like skate parks, so kids will have a safe place to play. I always thought a place like Drew Brees Surge entertainment or Altitude would do great here. We are the gateway to the gulf and have so much potential to grow and improve, to entice businesses and other revenue from out of state. Travelers from Texas could stop and stay and spend money here, not skip over on the way to the casino.

We need to work with the citizens to help see what we can do to motivate and help with cleanup after the historic natural disasters and a pandemic that crippled everyone. The city just looks depressing and it does not help when you feel like you are fighting your elected officials along the way. Actually check on your city and citizens. We must rebuild and beautify this city and get politics out of the way. I am no politician, I am a public servant and always will be.”

How do you plan on working alongside other council members and city officials to solve problems and work on city projects?

Koonce: “I will work to improve the issues in the City of Sulphur to help us grow, succeed, and move forward. With that being said, each council member, along with city officials, needs to work together to improve each district with the entire city being the main focus and goal to achieve.”

Nezat: “I can work with anyone, as I understand how to negotiate for the best interests of both parties. There are going to be things I want done that will not be popular among the other council members and vice versa. However, I love a great debate, with evidence and facts. I am humble enough to know I may not be the smartest man in the room and will not belittle or threaten those that have an opposing views or better ideas. If we the citizens show up in force to vote and attend council meetings, I know we will be on track to bring Faith, Family, and Community back to Sulphur.”

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