When notoriously colorful Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee died in 2007, he was replaced by his handpicked top aide, Newell Normand, whom many viewed as like a son to the late sheriff.
And Normand was an interesting transition figure from the world in which Lee reigned – one where he declined to run for governor because he said he considered being sheriff the closest there is to being king in America – to a more modern way of doing business. Like Lee, Normand could be blustery, and he liked to mix it up in other people’s politics and other types of parish business. But he also professionalized the office’s practices, embraced technology, and ended Lee’s practice of expecting deputies to raise money for his political campaigns.
Who would have guessed that the most dramatic endorsement in the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's race wouldn’t be of a candidate, but by a candidate?
Lee’s only child, Cynthia Lee-Sheng, has a public profile that strays even further from her famous father’s. A parish council member and, as of Wednesday, candidate for parish president, Lee-Sheng is much less a table-pounder than a technocrat. She’s yet to outline her specific agenda, but in unveiling her candidacy, she stressed her taste for effective management.
“I’m probably more of an operational thinker and that side was always something that was interesting to me,” she said. “I’ve been excited about it for a long time.”
While there still could be some shifting around, as of now Lee-Sheng will face former Parish President John Young and possibly incumbent Mike Yenni, who has yet to declare his intentions. Yenni, of course, has brought more than enough drama to the parish president’s office in his one term in office, and there’s a good chance that Jefferson voters have had enough of that.
Regardless of what he does, Lee-Sheng, a CPA by trade, starts off with a lot going for her. That includes her family history. Probably even more, it includes her decidedly next-generation style.
Confirming months of speculation, Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng announced Wednesday that she will run for parish president i…