ST. FRANCISVILLE — For the first time in 32 years, residents will have a choice for mayor when they head to the polls for the Nov. 8 primary election.

Incumbent Billy D’Aquilla, 76, who first became St. Francisville mayor in 1984, is being challenged by alderman Robert “Bobee” Leake, 45.

Prior to defeating Mayor Marie Wenger in 1984, D’Aquilla had served on the Board of Aldermen for 12 years, including eight as mayor pro tem.

Leake, who has served as an alderman since 2007, is the only member not seeking re-election to the Board of Aldermen.

D’Aquilla, a Democrat, is a former treasurer of the Zachary Taylor Parkway Commission, former chairman of the West Feliciana Communication Board, former chairman of the Louisiana Community Development Authority, executive board member of the Capitol Region Planning Commission, past member of the Louisiana Municipal Association Executive Board and board member of the Angola Prison Museum.

He said the biggest challenge facing St. Francisivlle, “Is to further our efforts in encouraging tourism and economic development in a way that protects the very special quality of life that we enjoy here.”

Leake, a Republican, is a business owner with Balfour. He said the town is fortunate it doesn’t have any current major problems or challenges.

“Saying that, I recognize there are challenges we face every day as a municipality,” Leake said. “The unknowns that come up are what we have to be prepared for and anticipate. We must make a commitment to keeping our infrastructure strong. As a citizen and elected official, I’ve seen unanticipated problems arise whether it be having to revamp/upgrade our water well, repair our streets and sidewalks, or overhaul our sewer system.”

Leake said he’s worked with parish, state and other agencies to secure grant funding to provide vital services to St. Francisville.