Council, School Board Races Unfolding

Qualifying for the Central City Council and Central Community School Board opened Wednesday, and most of the candidates who were expected to qualify did so.  However, citizens have until 4:30 p.m. Friday to declare their candidacies, and some of the races could change dramatically.

One of the question marks is City Councilman Dave Freneaux, who has not qualified to run for reelection, nor has he declared his intentions. Earlier, he discussed a race for Mayor and more recently a possible run for Council-at-Large.  He did tell the Central City News he will not run for reelection to his district seat on the City Council.  He also said he will support the candidacy of Dr. Kim Fralick for his district seat.

Another question mark until Thursday morning was City Councilman Josh Roy who currently represents District 2 on the Council.  As of Wednesday, he had not qualified for reelection to his district seat.  Rumors were that he might seek the At-Large Council seat being vacated by Mayor Pro-Tem Wade Evans, who is running for Mayor. Then Thursday morning he did just that!

Meanwhile, J.D. Lavergne III has qualified for the District 2 seat currently held by Roy.

Much like a game of musical chairs, every position that Freneaux could run for — Mayor, Council-at-Large, and his district Council seat — has a candidate whom he apparently supports.

So there is increasing speculation that Freneaux may not run for anything this year.

As for the Central Community School Board, candidates have qualified for all seven seats.

Three incumbents have qualified to run for reelection:

District 2 — Roxanne Atkinson, a veteran school board member

District 3 — Dr. David Walker, another veteran board member

District 4 — Kim Powers, who was elected only last October to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of long-time school board member Will Easley.  Powers received 63 percent of the vote in her victory last fall.

Three School Board members have announced they will not run for reelection:

District 1 — Dr. Keith Holmes

District 6 — Ruby Foil

District 7 — Sharon Browning

That leaves one School Board member unaccounted for — Dr. Jim Gardner, who represents District 5, the vast northern part of Central.

Dr. Gardner has stated several times that he intends to qualify and seek reelection.  However, he did not qualify Wednesday.

The difficulty of finding good candidates to run for public office seems to be a growing problem.

It is costly to run for public office and even more costly if you are elected, especially if you have a job or own a business.

Health concerns, family obligations, and public scrutiny all deter candidates from seeking public office.

Running for the City Council or the School Board is a very time-consuming affair and things will only get worse if one is elected.

One of the interesting candidates running for the Central Community School Board in this election is Joshua Schopp, who is only 20 years old.  A graduate of Central High School, he is a student in political science at LSU.  

Schopp is running for the seat currently held by Dr. Keith Holmes in District 1.  So far, he has one opponent, Jeffery LaCour.

LaCour is the only Democrat who has qualified to run from Central in this election.

Running to replace Ruby Foil in District 6 is Michael Hooper, the President/CEO of LaCapital Federal Credit Union. He is so far unopposed.

Nick Carmena qualified to run for School Board District 4 by sending an agent. He did not attend qualifying at City Hall and was not available for photos.

Another new candidate is Jeannie Spell, who is running in School Board District 7.  She was CFO of a medical management company for 16 years and a realtor with Caldwell Banker and Remax for 10 years.

Qualifying for candidates normally occurs at the Clerk of Court’s office downtown and at the office on Airline Highway.

However, when Central holds local elections, Doug Welborn and his team come out to Central City Hall for one morning during the three day qualifying period. While  this is especially designed for local candidates in the northern part of the parish, any candidate can come.

Qualifying for all candidates who want to run in East Baton Rouge Parish will continue until 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Clerk of Court’s office downtown and on Airline Highway.

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