Meet the candidates for Elton mayor

Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Elton, LA (KPLC) - Four candidates - Kesia Lemonie, Brandon Kelley, Brandilyn Soileau, and Jared Trahan - are all vying to be the next mayor for the Town of Elton in the Nov. 8 election.

“It’s in my heart to serve the community that I love,” Lemonie said.

“I just really want to do my best to serve the residents of Elton,” Kelley said.

“I’ve shown my dedication and I’m a team player,” Soileau said.

“With my leadership, I can put the people in the right direction,” Trahan said.

We asked each of the candidates what changes need to be made for Elton to prosper.

Lemonie explained she wants to address empty buildings to bring more businesses back to the area.

“I think we can bring a little bit more to the town to get our youth that is graduating and leaving to want to come back to Elton,” Lemonie said.

Economic growth is also something Trahan said he wants for the town.

“Work on getting festivals in Elton, bringing people to the community and allow them to stay in the community and not move out. just working together with the local municipalities and the tribe and everyone and getting Elton to grow in a successful way,” Trahan said.

Soileau said she wants to see everything become streamlined in city hall.

“Definitely just working on getting all of our policies, job descriptions, procedures, everything lined up, and then that way we can move forward to making big changes because to have a strong house you have to have a strong foundation,” Soileau said.

As for Kelley, he tells 7News that the water system is one of the biggest issues he hopes to address.

“We need to replace most of the infrastructure in regards to the water system. It’s not just the water tower, it’s all the water mains and lines that were buried years ago that the vast majority of them need to be replaced,” Kelley said.

The candidates brought up a variety of issues involving economic development, water issues, the town’s infrastructure, transparency, and bringing in more community events.

What qualifies you to be the Mayor of Elton?

Soileau: I have the town’s best interest at heart and I’m approachable; first and foremost. In addition, my dedication to Elton that I have shown throughout these last 3 years as a city councilwoman. I have been fortunate to attend several LMA (Louisiana Municipal Association) conventions, allowing me to represent Elton at these state conventions. My resume, which includes working in hospitality, oil and manufacturing, and even for a fortune 500 company, shows both my ability and experience to get the job done professionally, too. Plus, I love Elton! There’s no place like home!

Lemoine: I am an 8-year member of the Elton City Council. During these years, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience involving, but not limited to: the legislative powers of city government, town ordinances and resolutions, sewer and water issues, general tax issues, listening to the ideas, and addressing the concerns of the citizens of Elton, participating in council meetings and other proceedings. I have served as Mayor Pro-Tem which has afforded me the opportunity to work alongside Mayor Ackless learning and observing the day-to-day operations of city government. I am a 25-year resident of Elton, so I am very familiar with most of the major issues that plague our community. I am a 22-year employee of Coushatta Casino Resort where I served as an employment coordinator, so I am well versed and familiar with leadership. I have been a business owner in the town of Elton for several years, so I am experienced in how to effectively manage people and how to execute business plans, and all that comes with running a successful business. I am motivated, committed, experienced, willing to learn, and most importantly willing to serve.

Trahan: Throughout my professional career I had several opportunities to work in different capacities regarding managing a budget, and working with several talented colleagues to meet collective needs and goals.

Kelley: Enough votes on Nov 8th, 2022. And…..

We have been active in the Elton Community for years. Our home was the distribution point for supplies and hot meals during Hurricane Laura for 3 weeks. We organized the procurement of and handed out 15 generators. Donated to everyone in Elton that needed diapers, non-perishable food, fresh produce, a pallet of baby formula, and cleaning supplies. We helped recruit chainsaw teams to come in and help clear properties of limbs and trees. With the help of the local FFA chapter, we served well over 6,000 meals during this time. We served the national guard in Kinder, countless linemen, Lacassine residents and surrounding areas. During the Corona shutdown, we delivered fully cooked vacuum-sealed frozen meals to the elderly for over a month. If you see someone needing help, you simply help. If something needs to be done, you do it. It’s not that complicated.

What, if any, changes do you believe need to be made in Elton, and how do you plan to make those changes?

Soileau: We need to stimulate our economy by focusing more on small businesses, home ownership/repair, infrastructure, and social community needs. We can make these changes happen by taking the time to build a better rapport with the community and by utilizing the resources the state puts out; such as USDA programs.

Lemoine: I feel that much of what is already in place in the town of Elton can be productive under the right leadership. It would be premature for me to point out things that need to be changed at this time without first accessing what is currently in place and how I can work with my team to make the necessary adjustments to improve what is currently in place. After this assessment, I can better gauge where changes need to be made.

Trahan: I believe in unity and bringing people together, I look forward to working with the council, the police force and all citizens of Elton to make It a place where people want to raise their families and live their lives and retire if I win Mayor, the council and I want to improve infrastructure and attract businesses to bring jobs and opportunities to the citizens of Elton.

Kelley: First thing is transparency. We will be doing a full audit of our city departments. Second thing is our infrastructure. Our water system is in dire need of an overhaul. We are working with our state representatives to get the proper grants to make these overhauls.

What goals do you have for the town?

Soileau: My number one goal is to make our city hall the nucleus of our town again. Growing up in Elton, I remember feeling so excited and proud to go into the city hall. We can get that back. Our city hall should be the first place our residents go to and receive help.

Lemoine: I would like to insure that the town of Elton is fiscally sound with responsible budgets in place. I would like to continue the demolition of vacant and abandoned properties to beautify our town and create opportunities for new businesses and residences to form. I would like to digitalize our town records and water meters for better efficiency. I would like to enhance recreation equipment and opportunities available for the youth of Elton. I would like to make sure that the city hall has an open door policy. I want the citizens of Elton to always feel welcome to voice their opinions and concerns. I want them to know that their voices will always be heard and respected. I would like to provide monthly events for elderly citizens. I would like to provide more family-oriented events for all members of the community of Elton.

Trahan: We will apply for grants to improve infrastructure and recreation to create opportunities for our youth and elders. As well as economic Development grants that will bring in businesses and local dollars to the town of Elton.

Kelley: A revitalized and renovated city park. We are working on grants to fulfill this promise with the help of the Jeff Davis Economic Development office. We want to increase the number of small businesses and build up our economic resources by creating a business-friendly environment. Our water system is in the works to be replaced with a needed modern one. We will also begin a disaster and readiness plan so that our town doesn’t suffer as it did after Hurricane Laura.

Do you have any plans for economic growth in the community? If so, please elaborate.

Soileau: Absolutely! I would love for the town to support our economy more. I would have the ability to attend Mayor conferences sponsored by the LMA; these conferences are a great way to network and also find out what resources are available for our wonderful town. In addition, I think we should utilize our parish seat of Jennings more. We, the town of Elton, should be working with our Jeff Davis Parish Tourist Commission, our JDP Police Jury, and JDP Clerk of Courts a lot more. Let’s utilize all the help that we have!

Lemoine: I have been attending grant-writing conferences and workshops to better avail myself of the opportunities that are available to the Town of Elton. Becoming aware of these opportunities will assist me in determining what resources are available and how these resources can be attained and best utilized to improve the economic growth of our community. Once I gain this knowledge, I can share this information with not only the town council but also the citizens of Elton. Together, I am convinced that we can move Elton in a positive direction. I plan to make personal visits to our local businesses to discuss how we can work together for continued economic growth in our community. I also have plans to actively search for and attend economic development training and workshop opportunities to locate businesses that might be interested in coming to Elton. This would bring jobs and revenue to our town, which I feel is essential for continued growth.

Trahan: Yes, my plans are to focus on getting a grant to upgrade our roads, sidewalks, and invest in a multipurpose community center for events for our elders and community to utilize for events and It would also be used for our senior citizens and after-school and summer programs for the youth.

Kelley: Yes. First, we make Main St. an area that is attractive to small business owners and drives more folks coming into Elton to support them. Main St. beautification projects and land development along Main St. will be vital to this approach. Also, I want to bring a city festival to our town. I want the residents of Elton to help decide on this but we have a few ideas. We are talking with the Louisiana Kingz ABA basketball team to help make Elton their permanent home as well.

If elected, what would your first 100 days in office look like?

Soileau: A strong house needs a strong foundation; I would begin to go through all of our standard operating procedures because there is a lot of gray area; policies should be black or white in black and white. Creating better ways to effectively communicate is another must in the first 100 days; not everyone has social media and that’s okay. I’d love for us to have a town calendar that would be sent out monthly to let everyone know what’s going on in Elton. Lastly but not least, I would love to see more residents coming in to see me. I’ll have an open door waiting to see everyone and waiting to hear the residents’ feedback as well.

Lemoine: I think it is essential that I familiarize myself with all policies and ordinances currently in place to determine what changes if any need to be made immediately. I also plan to schedule an audit of the town’s finances to address any issues that demand my immediate attention before I begin my mayorship. I also plan to work with engineers to access all water lines and water cutoff valves. This assessment is to find a more effective and efficient way of dealing with water leaks as they occur in the town without depriving our citizens of water access for long periods of time. Additionally, I plan to work with our engineers on how to best utilize funds that the town has been awarded recently from a sewer grant. I also plan to continue working with Maguire Iron on the rehabilitation of the Elton water tower since I am well aware that this has been an ongoing issue for the town and its citizens. Also, I plan to meet with the city employees to gain insight on their jobs and to share my vision as we move forward under my leadership. Lastly, I want to schedule a community outreach with the citizens of Elton as their new mayor to begin establishing a positive rapport with myself, the town council, and the community. I want to restore public trust and confidence in the Town of Elton and all its departments.

Trahan: I’m real big on communication and relationships. I would get to know the new council members and I would identify our collective goals together and work towards accomplishing them and all the needs of our great Town of Elton.

Kelley: You can expect to see changes to how city hall is being run. I want to bring our city departments up to current technology with new computer systems and online payment portals. Again, the audit of all city departments will play a large role in how to proceed with this.