SORRENTO — Two of the town of Sorrento’s mayoral candidates made their pitch to voters on why they should be the town’s next mayor.
Jason Adams and Mike Lambert answered questions and shared their platforms during a moderated forum Wednesday night, while a third mayoral candidate, Wilson Longanecker Sr., was unable to attend due to a work obligation.
Four of the town’s nine council candidates also participated in the forum. Randy Anny, Ivan Bernachaux, Patti Poche and Don Schexnaydre attended the forum, while Wanda Bourgeois, Wilson Longanecker Jr., Marvin Martin, Milton “Needlenose” Vicknair and John Wright were absent.
All of the council candidates are Democrats.
The forum, which was held at the Sorrento Lions Club in front of approximately 30 to 40 residents, was sponsored by The Creole online newspaper.
The overarching theme of the night was that the town needs to clean up its image in an effort to attract new businesses and residents. Council and mayoral candidates all talked about their plans to work together in order to accomplish those goals.
“We have to get along at Town Hall,” said Adams, a Republican who currently serves on the town’s council. “We have to present to outside business that everybody up here — whether it be old or new faces — is willing to work together.”
Adams said his biggest challenge as mayor would be changing the image that the town presents to the public, but he also said it should be fairly easy for council members and the mayor to work together.
“We’re all adults here,” he said.
Lambert, meanwhile, said the town is facing a number of challenges beyond just its image. It starts there, but he also said town officials need to get their finances in order and also develop a marketing plan to attract people to move into and invest in Sorrento.
“This town, we really need to start from zero and start all over again,” said Lambert, also a Republican and a former town fire chief.
Adams said he didn’t believe Sorrento needs to unincorporate, an idea that has been discussed during this campaign. That doesn’t serve the citizens well, he said, and instead the solution is for the town’s government officials to “work harder.”
Lambert said the town needs to take a serious look into whether or not to disband its Police Department and contract with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office to provide the town with law enforcement protection. He said the town can’t afford to pay police officers proper wages and contracting with the Sheriff’s Office, as the city of Donaldsonville does, could be a solution.
Adams, however, said he doesn’t think that is a feasible option or one that ultimately would save the town any money.
“I think it’s a bad idea, and I don’t think doing away with the Police Department is gonna help,” he said.
The mayoral and council elections are on the April 6 ballot. Early voting began last week and will continue from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Saturday.