St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, who won a second term in October, is throwing her support behind three candidates and a raft of home rule charter amendments in the sprint to the Nov. 21 runoff election.
Brister, who did not endorse any candidates in the primary, sent out mailers this week supporting incumbent Sheriff Jack Strain and Clerk of Court candidate Matt Faust. She’s also backing a candidate in the hotly contested St. Tammany Parish District 7 race, endorsing Jacki Schneider, who is challenging incumbent Jake Groby.
Brister said Friday that she supports candidates whom she’s worked with, respects and thinks will do a good job. When people ask her who she’s voting for, she tells them her reasons, she said. “That’s what an endorsement is.”
A mailer featuring Brister’s photograph went out this week, saying the Sheriff’s Office is a “model of integrity” and that, as parish president, she’s worked closely with him.
“I encourage you to vote for integrity, safety and experience — please join me
in voting for Sheriff Jack Strain,” the mailer says.
Strain, who had not faced an opponent in 12 years, was forced into a runoff with Slidell Police Chief Randy Smith.
Brister’s image also appears on a mailer alongside Steve Scalise endorsing Faust in his bid for the clerk seat left open by Malise Prieto, who chose not to seek a sixth term. Faust and Melissa Henry, who works in the clerk’s office, are in the runoff.
Brister, who appointed the committee to review the home rule charter, said that at 15 years old, the charter needs to be updated and “there’s no other way to do it.”
She sent out a mailer this week appealing to voters to adopt all nine parish home rule charter amendments. The mailer describes the process used to draft the amendments, done by “a committee of citizens, just like you,” and says it’s important to vote yes on all of them.
The mailer highlights one in particular, Amendment 5, that would allow parish government to use its own attorneys instead of the District Attorney’s Office for legal counsel. That item has generated opposition from 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery. Among other objections, Montgomery has said that the change will cost more money.
But Brister’s mailer argues the opposite, saying the change will streamline operations and save money.
Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter at @spagonesadvocat.