One Bossier Police Jury race settled in court, four seats still up for grabs this fall

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Bossier Parish Police Jury District 9 will have a new representative after a court case determined only one candidate qualified for the seat in the upcoming fall election.

Bossier City Democrat Charles Gray will replace current Dist. 9 representative Fred Shewmake, Jr., who is not seeking re-election. 

Both Gray and Republican Jason Brown qualified for the seat earlier this month.

However, a lawsuit was filed to see Brown disqualified, saying he lives in Shreveport and used the address of his father to qualify for office.

A day-long hearing Tuesday saw Bossier District Court Judge Ford Stinson Jr. rule that Jason Brown failed to prove he lived at a Bossier City home in the police jury Dist. 9 area long enough to meet qualifications to run for that district’s seat.

That leaves Gray unopposed in the election.

Brown considered an address at Bossier City’s Village Lane as his home since moving there in 1980. He told the court he went to schools corresponding to that address, was registered to vote there, and has the address on his driver’s license and vehicle registration. Brown also pointed out he used the same address when he qualified to run for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeal in March and his domicile was not challenged then.

However, Stinson said in January, 2002, that Brown purchased property on Prospect Street in Shreveport, utilities at that address are in Brown’s name, and it was used for homestead exemption purposes as recently as 2016.

The court also heard from witnesses testifying that they did not recognize Brown living at the Bossier City residence.

Stinson’s ruling said there was “overwhelming evidence” which indicated the Village Lane address was not Brown’s domicile.

Gray is one of three new police jurors that will be elected, while there are four contested races for the police jury.

Long-time Dist. 3 representative Wanda Bennett is not seeking re-election, opening the door for one of five candidates — Martha Reyenga, a Plain Dealing Republican; Philip Rodgers, Wes Shepherd, Jim Viola, and Robert Williams, all Benton Republicans.

Dist. 6 representative Rick Avery is also not seeking re-election, leaving his seat up for grabs between Bossier City Republicans Chris Marsiglia and Steven “Greg” Nichols. 

Dist. 2 incumbent Glenn Benton drew opposition from Haughton Libertarian William Wittmer. 

Dist. 4 will see voters choose between incumbent Norman Craig, who was elected in October 2018 to fill the seat for the remainder of its term after the previous juror stepped down, and John Ed Jorden, a Benton Republican.

Dist. 1’s Bob Brotherton, Dist. 5 representative Jack “Bump” Skaggs, Dist. 7’s Jimmy Chochran, Dist. 10 representative Jerome Darby, Dist. 11’s Tom Salzer, and Dist. 12’s Mac Plummer will all be re-elected as they face no opposition.