PORT ALLEN — Port Allen native and retired law enforcement officer Richard Lee III, in a statement released Friday, indicated he intends to run for mayor in the special election in April.
West Baton Rouge Parish Registrar of Voters Stacy Ryan on Friday confirmed that Lee, 54, had submitted a nomination petition containing more than 200 signatures from registered voters asking that Lee submit his name for mayor.
However, Lee won’t officially become a mayoral candidate until he turns in qualifying papers to the parish’s Clerk of Court, Ryan said.
The qualifying period for the April 5 special election is Feb. 12 to Feb. 14.
“All (the nomination petition) means is that he doesn’t have to pay qualifying fees,” Ryan explained Friday.
According to the state’s election code, a nominating petition for the mayoral race in Port Allen — a city with a population of more than 5,000 but less than 25,000 — must have 200 signatures and have been submitted to the Registrar’s Office by noon Friday for that particular special election.
Ryan said Lee’s certified petition contained “over 200 signatures.”
“He doesn’t have to use it. He could still decide not to run,” she said.
Lee declined Friday to comment on the petition or his candidacy.
In the written statement, however, Lee pledges to “establish an agenda of cooperation and collaboration with the public, private and corporate sectors of the community in developing projects and programs that will benefit all the citizens.”
The statement goes on to say his main focus will be to bring residents together through the creation of a community group called One Port Allen.
According to the statement, Lee retired as an lieutenant from law enforcement after 33 years of service, having served an as officer in Port Allen and Baton Rouge working in dispatch, uniform patrol, DWI enforcement, narcotics, traffic homicide investigation and housing authority.
Lee said in the statement he feels his training in areas of “leadership, supervision, motivation, performance management and job appraisal along with” his past work experience have prepared him to be mayor.
Lee, who is married and the father of five children, is the first person to announce his candidacy since former mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter was recalled from office in November.
Slaughter’s recall came after 11 months of battles with a majority of the Port Allen City Council and members of her administration resulting in a multitude of lawsuits against the ex-mayor.
In December, Gov. Bobby Jindal appointed Lynn Robertson, a former mayor, to serve as interim mayor until voters select a new full-time mayor during the special election.
Robertson has previously said she has no desire to run for mayor.
Slaughter, who can also seek re-election in the April election, has previously declined to say whether she would run for mayor again.