The mayors of the two biggest cities in Ascension Parish are eager to continue the work they’ve been doing for the past four years.
Gonzales Mayor Barney Arceneaux and Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan both were re-elected Tuesday to additional four-year terms in office. Arceneaux received 84 percent of the more than 4,000 votes cast in Gonzales, easily outpacing his challenger, Jeff Little. Sullivan, meanwhile, defeated Eric Robinson by 300 votes in a Donaldsonville race, which drew more than 3,500 voters.
The two incumbents said they were excited about the results and glad the residents of their respective cities showed confidence in their leadership.
“I certainly feel great about it,” said Arceneaux, elected to his second term. “I totally feel that the people of Gonzales have realized that I’ve tried to keep the best interests of the city certainly in the forefront. I think it’s shown.”
“I’m glad that it’s over,” said Sullivan, who was appointed mayor in March 2004 and won his third consecutive election. “I’m happy and forever grateful that the citizens of Donaldsonville chose to vote for me to continue to lead the city.”
Arceneaux and Sullivan both said they look forward to continuing the work they started previously.
Gonzales has shown steady growth for the past several years, Arceneaux said, and he expects that pace to continue. Economic development has been a top priority for his administration, and he said he will keep focusing on bringing more jobs to the city. Another key focus, however, will be on traffic infrastructure improvements, Arceneaux said.
“Economic development is always the top tier, but roads and traffic is something folks always would talk about and ask about,” Arceneaux said. “It’s gonna be a high priority. I’m not just talking about overlaying the roads we have here. We know we have to build new roads to get around Gonzales. We haven’t had the traffic we have now even four or five years ago. It’s picking up every day.”
Sullivan also has several areas that he plans to focus on during the next four years. He said he wants to bring affordable housing to Donaldsonville, work to improve the school system and make the city attractive to both visitors and potential residents.
“I’m going to move straight forward full force with trying to continue to take care of the blight problem in the city, take care of cleaning up the city and make it attractive so people will want to come and visit and even want to come and stay here,” Sullivan said.
The two mayors aren’t the only city officials who were re-elected, however. Gonzales police Chief Sherman Jackson picked up 54 percent of the votes to avoid a runoff and defeat two challengers, Duane Carpenter and Glynn LeBlanc.
Jackson said he was “very anxious” as the results started coming in and became a “happy camper” once he found out he had been re-elected to a second term.
“It felt like the world lifted off my shoulders,” Jackson said.
Both Carpenter and LeBlanc had challenged Jackson’s effectiveness as a leader of the Police Department, but Jackson said voters once again believed he was the right person to head the department.
“I’m grateful,” Jackson said. “It shows me that (citizens) believe in me and believe I can get the job done.”
The chief said he would continue with many of the programs he started during the past four years. The agency is about 90 percent finished with creating in-house policies and procedures, and one of the first things he hopes to accomplish during his second term is completing the plan and implementing it.
“As for law enforcement, we will continue to be visible out in the public,” Jackson said. “We will continue the process of communicating with them, holding meetings with different neighborhoods, hearing their voices and trying to minimize their problems in their respective neighborhoods.”