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Opinion: Mayor Walker puts Bossier City on notice

Bossier City Mayor Lorenz “Lo” Walker is not wasting any time in getting the message out that he will seek re-election to a fourth term in 2017.

Municipal elections for Bossier City are held in April with qualifying in late February.  No specific date has been set by the Louisiana Secretary of State for the 2017 election.

Walker told the Fax-Net that many people have asked him over the past 4-6 months if he is going to run again for the city’s top job.  He noted he was reluctant to make a definite statement until the 2014 elections were over to avoid confusion.

The popular mayor is hoping that his road to another term will be as smooth as his last two.  He was unopposed when he ran in 2009 and 2013.

A little history here.  Walker first ran for mayor in 1989 and lost to the late George Dement.   In that race, Dement finished first in the primary with 39%, followed by Wanda Bennett with 28%, Walker with 17%, and David Broussard with 16%.

In the runoff, Dement defeated Bennett by a 52-48% margin.  It was then that Dement  hired Walker as his Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

When Dement decided not to seek re-election in 2005 after serving as mayor for 16 years, CAO Walker, a Republican, ran and won with 91% of the vote over Anita Steadman, a Democrat.

As mentioned, Walker was unopposed in 2009 and 2013.  A victory in 2017 would tie Walker with Dement, both having been elected four times as mayor of Bossier City.

lou BurnettWalker jokingly says, “I am approaching middle age being 81 years young.”  One would never know it given the time and energy he puts into his job as mayor.

The accomplishments of Walker as mayor and Bossier City’s government leaders have resulted in a rapid rise in population, which now stands at about 67,000.  The city is known for being progressive and keeping up with growth through infrastructure and other projects.

Caution! Elections Ahead

The 2015 election season gets off to an early start with the first contest scheduled for Saturday, February 21.  There are five scheduled election dates this year – February 21, March 28, May 2, October 24, and November 21.

Voters in Bossier caught a break.  There will be no election in state House of Representatives District 8. in Bossier Parish.  Attorney  Mike Johnson, a Republican, was the only qualifier.

It’s the district that was represented by Republican Jeff Thompson, who was elected a Bossier-Webster District Judge.  It would have been a special election. Johnson will have to run for a full term in November.


BESE election on March 28

A special election will be held on March 28 to fill the 4th District seat on Louisiana’s Board of Secondary and Elementary Education (BESE).

The vacancy was created when longtime BESE 4th District representative Walter Lee resigned amid legal problems. 

Gov. Bobby Jindal has appointed Mary Johnson Harris, principal of South Highlands Elementary  Magnet School, to fill the position on an interim basis until the special election can be held.

Qualifying for the election is set for February 4-6.  If a runoff is needed, it will be held on May 2.  The winner of the special election will have to run for a full term in November.

It is assumed that Harris will run for the position.  Two other names are being mentioned as potential candidates.  They are Glynis Johnson, a teacher at A.C. Steere who was 2014-15 Teacher of the Year, and Victor Mainiero, Director of Communications and Marketing for the Caddo Parish School System.

There could be others. BESE’s 4th District is comprised of nine parishes – Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, DeSoto, Natchitoches, Red River, Sabine, Vernon, and Winn.

BESE’s responsibility, according to its website, is to provide leadership and create policies for education that expand opportunities for children, empower families and communities, and advance Louisiana in an increasingly competitive global market.


The October 24 election

The primary election on October 24 will be a long ballot.  Here are the offices up for election:

Statewide: Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, and Commissioner of Insurance.

Multi-Parish and Local: BESE, state senator, state representative, sheriff, clerk of court, assessor, coroner, and police jury. (In Caddo, it’s the Caddo Commission).

The governor’s race will, of course, be the main event.  But interesting races are expected for lieutenant governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.

Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.

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