Three candidates will face off in the upcoming election for the East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council's District 11 seat.
District 11 stretches from the Tara neighborhood almost to Woman's Hospital.
All three Republican candidates — Laurie White Adams, Gordon "Trey" Bargas and Jonathan Snyder — said they will prioritize public safety and infrastructure management should they win the Nov. 3 election. The winner will replace Matt Watson, who is running for mayor-president of the parish.
Adams, 50, grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, before coming to LSU for college, where she graduated with a degree in journalism from the Manship School of Mass Communication. Her career spans different roles, from State Senate legislative assistant to small business owner. She now serves as the director of advancement and enrollment management at Parkview Baptist School.
Adams said one of her top priorities is crime and the high murder rate in the parish. She argues that police officers are underpaid and the force is smaller than it should be. Part of her goal for public safety is to rebuild trust in law enforcement while navigating how to engage in effective community policing strategies.
She also hopes to address long-standing drainage issues in the area, along with promoting "professionalism" and "transparency" to solve problems in the city.
"I think that we have all the ingredients here that we need for success in the future," she said. "We just need to set priorities, make plans and remain focused on those plans."
Bargas, 48, is a Baton Rouge native and served as an officer with BRPD for more than 20 years. He served as a sergeant during the flood of 2016 and worked in mayoral security under Kip Holden during Hurricane Katrina, among other duties. When he retired in 2018, he ended his years of service as a supervisor of professional standards and extra duty.
He has also managed commercial real estate for roughly three decades and obtained his real estate license in 2015.
Like Adams, Bargas believes the police department is lacking in manpower, which he says ties directly to the city's crime rate. He supports both law enforcement and police reform while removing what he calls "bad police" from the force.
"I think to really come up with reform issues we really need to understand the most inner workings of the police department," he said.
He plans to address drainage problems by working with the Department of Public Works to clear culverts and ditches regularly in anticipation of flooding.
Snyder, 27, hails from Destrehan. He arrived at LSU in 2011 to pursue a degree in business management and graduated in 2015. Snyder has traveled extensively to other countries where he has led mission trips to bring clean drinking water and feeding programs to different communities. He now serves as the Executive Pastor at Antioch Baton Rouge and is the owner of Pelican Janitorial, LLC.
His overarching goal is to reduce inefficiencies in local government, particularly in the budget. As a small-business owner, he wants to support local employers who have been hit hard by the pandemic and seek ways to lower their taxes.
He also wants to address public safety by considering raises for law enforcement while also looking at how effective training is for those in uniform.
"I’m not trying to be a politician, just a public servant," he said. "We’ve got so much potential."