Voters in state House District 95 have the choice of two very different opponents in incumbent Sherman Mack and challenger Robin Parrott.
Mack, a 47-year-old Republican attorney, wants to focus on drainage and water diversion, continuing criminal justice measures he’s supported in the past like the death penalty, and keeping a balanced budget.
Parrott is a 35-year-old teacher-turned-stay-at-home-mom of four children and a Democrat who’s set her sights on increasing minimum wage, teacher pay and lessening class sizes, focusing on mental health and addiction services in rural areas and increasing outreach and incentives for businesses to use greener practices like recycling.
The District 95 area encompasses the northern portion of Livingston Parish, including Livingston and Albany up to the St. Helena Parish border. Mack has held the seat since 2011 and if he wins he would be barred by term limits from running again.
Mack is the current chairman of the Administration of Criminal Justice committee and, in the role, said he would like to continue that work that allows him to take a closer look at facets like gaming, gun legislation and other criminal justice issues.
He said that, specifically to Livingston Parish’s benefit, he wants to continue focus on flood recovery and drainage solutions following the devastating 2016 flood.
Louisiana has had trouble for years obtaining the drugs to carry out executions. But neither Gov. John Bel Edwards nor state lawmakers have so…
“Here in Livingston Parish in the next couple of years we really are going to have to pay attention to recovery and those people still in need, but we also need to think about being proactive and asking ourselves why did it flood so bad,” he said, adding that possible solutions could be increasing the number of culverts beneath Interstate 12 and studying the impact of having I-12, U.S. 190 and railroad tracks all running perpendicular through the parish.
Parrott said she left Livingston Parish schools as a teacher a few years ago because she already had a child, another one on the way, and adopted two children from foster care. She took time away to raise her family but had been paying attention to legislative sessions in which she saw disinterest in voters’ concerns, which prompted her to run now that her kids are entering school and she has more time.
She said given her own background, education is a high priority, as well as environment and infrastructure, and health issues.
“I want to make sure our kids have an education and I want to see changes for the benefit of our teachers like smaller class sizes,” she said. “I don’t think we should have to fight for funding, it’s critical to everything. A good education produces good workers and helps drives communities forward.”
Parrott said in dealing with the foster care system, she encountered the staggering number of grandparents raising grandchildren or children entering foster homes due to addiction or mental health issues that had gone unaddressed.
State and local officials are sounding the alarm about a disturbing trend in Livingston Parish: The number of children entering foster care he…
“A lot of people are saying there’s not many resources and when there are, they want better quality, so I want to expand mental health and addiction services especially in rural areas like ours,” she said. “The families also need help, it’s not just the addict or the one with mental illness but the ones around them are also suffering.”
She said though Livingston Parish is increasing both commercially and population-wise in the last few years, there needs to be a focus on environmental elements to make sure infrastructure and development is done in a way that’s sustainable. She said incentives for businesses using green policies could be a statewide effort, as well as helping smaller communities that say recycling is too expensive.
“Environment and infrastructure goes together, so let’s make sure we’re building so we don’t cause more issues down the road,” Parrott said.
Name: Sherman Mack
Name: Robin Parrott
Occupation: Former teacher, stay-at-home mom.