Informing voters ahead of the Iowa mayoral election

Published: Oct. 1, 2022 at 1:05 PM CDT
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Iowa, LA (KPLC) - 7News sat down with the three candidates running in the Iowa mayoral race to see what they can offer to the town and its voters.

Watkins is from the Allen Parish area but is well traveled, spending time in Florida and Missouri before making his way back to Southwest Louisiana and has been an Iowa resident for the past four years.

Hesse, a long time Iowa resident, has lived here for the last 30 years and worked as a CITGO refineries manager before retiring and holding office as Iowa mayor.

Macer’s roots go back to Indiana, but he has spent much of his time overseas serving in the military. He has been an Iowa resident for the last several years.

When asked what their priorities would be as mayor, this was how each responded:

Macer: “If I were to become mayor, I still wanna focus on fixing key critical infrastructure issues that has continued to plague the town and then continue to build on the things that we’re doing right.

“I want to develop our businesses and work with them to bring in and generate more revenue and to stimulate our businesses. I want to bring back events to our town also and make it a place that’s more family friendly”

Hesse: “We’re looking at putting in a Rouses or a location that we could put restaurants in and we’re working with them to turn that side of the old Blue Mall and that type of business.”

“We’re also looking at the traffic that’s horrendous when you get off the Interstate here on Thompson and Miller and on the other side. We’re working with the DOTD to put in the first four traffic circle, a design that nobody else in the state has had in order to move things out.”

Watkins: “There are very specific issues throughout the drainage system. A lot of times what I’ve seen is a particular ditch is maybe dugout, but a few ditches does not fix the problem. We’re going to have to get to the end of the end of the run, if you will, and work backwards.”

“There are a lot of issues that we have on the upper end of town here. They create a lot of issues on the back end of town and so without without attacking each one of those points where we have the issue, the flooding will persist.”

Incumbent Paul Hesse said he wants to continue where he left off to make up for time and progress lost from the hurricanes and put an emphasis on infrastructure.

“I didn’t really get the chance to finish a lot of things that we were starting, which is hardening the infrastructure, building a new police station. We’re just now getting to do the renovations on the park and you know, there’s just a tremendous amount of things that I’m wanting to complete that I didn’t have a chance to finish on my first term,” Hesse said.

Four tour combat veteran Joshua Macer said he believes his skill set and willingness to be transparent sets him apart from the other candidates

“Amazing amounts of experience from my time overseas. If I can build infrastructure while under fire at war I can do it here in peacetime, in a city that I love,” Macer said. “I have a caring compassion for my town. I listen to the people, I’ve heard their needs and I will communicate with them and I will have an open door policy so that no matter what and regardless of what progress is being made, they’re going to know.”

Neal Watkins said his management background will make a difference.

“I believe that really what we lack more than anything is management structure for the entire city. My background is management and one of the things that I enjoy doing is is fixing things that might not be working as well as it could be.”

Paul Hesse, Joshua Macer and Neal Watkins are running for Iowa Mayor and on Nov. 8 but only one will be elected to fill the position.