Runoff to decide W. Feliciana post
Businessman Kevin Couhig and former state representative Tom McVea will battle for the newly created West Feliciana Parish President’s position in a Nov. 16 runoff.
Couhig, a Republican, led the race Saturday with 49 percent of the vote while McVea, also a Republican, came in second with 33 percent, according to unofficial returns from the Secretary of State’s Office.
“We did our best and going in as the leader was a plus,” Couhig said.
McVea said he is optimistic about his chances in the runoff.
“I’m going to have analyze what happened and look at our strengths and weaknesses and go from there,” McVea said.
West Feliciana Parish police juror John Kean came in third with 9 percent of the vote while West Feliciana Parish police juror Lea Reid Williams came in last with 8 percent of the vote.
Voter turnout was low, at just under 30 percent, according to the West Feliciana Parish Clerk of Court’s Office. Of the 7,400 registered voters in the parish, 2,218 cast votes in the race.
The parish president position was created in 2012 when voters approved a home rule charter form of government to replace the police jury system.
The home rule charter calls for a parish president, four parish council districts and one at-large parish council seat. The seven-member Police Jury will become the Parish Council once the parish president takes office.
The seven jurors will be allowed to serve out their terms, but the Parish Council will have to adopt a plan dividing the parish into four single-member council districts by 2015, with the fifth council member serving at large.
All four candidates for parish president said they want to send the home rule charter back to voters for an amendment to keep the seven districts in place.
The candidates said the seven districts represent the parish in a fair and racially balanced way.
The parish population is 67 percent white and 33 percent black.
One issue the candidates agreed on is the need for economic development in rural West Feliciana.
Couhig said the parish can grow economically without hurting the scenic beauty of the parish through the use of a smart growth plan.
McVea said the parish is already working on getting sites in the parish certified for future businesses but he also said infrastructure problems hold the parish back and roads need to be updated and water lines should be expanded.