DONALDSONVILLE — One challenger is taking his second shot at the top seat in the city of Donaldsonville’s government, while the incumbent mayor is looking to secure a third term in office.
Leroy Sullivan Sr., who first was appointed to office in March 2004 before winning the mayor’s election that November, is being challenged for the second straight time by Eric Robinson, a local businessman who unsuccessfully challenged Sullivan four years ago.
Robinson garnered 534 votes, or 18 percent, to finish third in a three-man race for mayor in October 2008. Sullivan picked up 55 percent of the votes in the primary to win the office outright and avoid a runoff.
The mayor’s race is one of three in the city on the Nov. 6 ballot. There also are two races for the Donaldsonville City Council on the ballot.
Incumbents Lauthaught Delaney Sr., Raymond Aucoin and Reginald Francis Sr. were re-elected to the council without opposition. However, incumbents Charles Brown and Emile Spano face opposition. Brown is challenged by Ricky Larvadain Jr. in the District 4 race, while Spano faces Michael Sullivan Sr. in District 5. All of the candidates are Democrats.
Early voting begins Tuesday and will continue through Oct. 30.
The two biggest issues facing the city, Sullivan said, are roads and affordable housing. The roads, Sullivan said, will be addressed by a half-cent sales tax that was passed in April that allowed the city to borrow $2.75 million.
“We’ve never had the money to do this. ... This gives us the opportunity to do some more roads and take care of some roads that are in desperate need of repairs,” Sullivan said.
In the meantime, he said, he’s working on a project that he hopes will bring more affordable housing to the city as it prepares to position itself for industrial expansion that will create more jobs.
What he hopes to accomplish if elected to a third term, Sullivan said, would be to attract more jobs, provide the city’s children with a better education and create a cleaner, safer community. He added that he has the leadership ability to make those dreams a reality.
Robinson said he has a vision for a new Donaldsonville, one that revolves around a strategic plan for the city’s future that he calls “Project Turnaround.” The focus of that plan is to create a more vibrant, technology-driven and business-friendly community.
Robinson said his plan will focus on building capacity in a number of areas where the city currently is lacking — a business incubator, technology distribution, workforce training, kids mentoring, disaster recovery and a strategic plan for the city.
He plans to build a community park and community center and institute a food bank and employee incentive programs.
Although he wasn’t successful in his mayoral run four years ago, he believes this election will be different.
“I know my hometown can achieve more than we have in recent years,” Robinson said. “In order to do so, however, we need better leadership.”
Sullivan, however, said he’s the right person to continue leading the city.
“As it says on my push card, experience counts, and I have the experience,” Sullivan said.