Profiling Bossier Parish Police Jury Dist. 2 candidates

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[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series profiling candidates in local elections coming up this fall.]

In the Oct. 12 election, Bossier residents will vote on the representative for Bossier Parish Police Jury Dist. 2.

Voters will choose between incumbent Glenn Benton (R-Haughton) and William Wittmer (L-Haughton). 

Benton, previously worked for 33 years for the Shreveport Fire Department, retiring in 2001. He also worked developing subdivisions for more than 20 years. Benton is currently serving as President of the Louisiana Police Jury Association for the year 2019.

He has lived in Bossier Parish his entire life and is married to his longtime sweetheart Patricia, has two sons and four grandchildren. Both he and his children all graduated from Haughton schools. He is also a longtime member of First Baptist Church of Haughton serving on several committees throughout the years.

1. Why do you want to be a Police Juror for District 2?  

I served the City of Shreveport for 33 years helping other citizens, I want to continue to serve the citizens of District 2 to make a better quality of life, plentiful water, cleaning up old sewer systems and better street and drainage.

2. Tell me what your priorities will be for your area if elected?  

We have to continue to improve on water for this growing district. All of District 2 depends on ground water. I will continue to look for funds to find surface water for residents and allow new business to locate here. We cannot depend on wells supplying us in the near future. I want to continue to expand sewer to all of the parish. We built a state of the art sewer plant on Red River closing down 26 non compliant sewer plants and oxidation ponds. We have started engineering plans to build Winfield Road from Bellevue Road to Benton Road, giving residents another east west road this will improve traffic that backs up on Hwy 80 in morning and evenings. I want to continue to make subdivisions safer by requiring side walks street lights and under ground drainage in all new subdivisions located in District 2. All these are important to this area to maintain property values. 

3. There are several issues that are important to Bossier residents. Transportation, economic development, infrastructure. How will you go about ensuring that these are addressed in your area and in Bossier Parish?

In 2000, the Police Jury did a traffic analysis on future growth in the Parish and where we need to improve on traffic. The first year I was on the jury in 2008 we widened Bellevue Road from Hwy. 80 to Winnfield making it safer. We built Arthur Ray Teague from Jimmy Davis to Sligo Road we are working on Swan Lake from I-220 to Crouch Road. This will give residents in the northern part of the parish an alternative route to I-20. We must build Winnfield to Benton Road, giving us an alternative route, and I pledge to help secure that funding to make that happen. I will not let up on developers in making our subdivisions safer and less costly on Parish maintenance. In 2007, the parish, City of Bossier, and the State of Louisiana joined together to build the Cyber Research Park on U.S. Hwy. 80. This has led to a major corporation, General Dynamics, locating in our park creating over 1,000 good jobs. Inside the park, Louisiana Tech and BPCC built a state of the art Cyber Education Facility. We have to continue creating these type of jobs and capitalize on bring in more missions to Barksdale Air Force Base. We have continued to address our bridges, funding them as it becomes available. 

4. Why should someone vote for you? 

I have a proven record in District 2. I worked with the jury in securing over $2 million in building Lawson Bo Brandon Sports Complex, allowing from 500 to 700 youth summer baseball and softball. I worked with the jury in securing funds to build the first parish-wide sewer in District 2, cleaning up sewer ponds. We just received state funds to replace 50-year-old sewer lines in Merrywoods, not having to raise rates to pay for it. I pledge to continue looking for this type of funding. We have improved our parks in District 2, building restrooms, shade structures, walking trials, and lighting to make the most used park,Tall Timbers Park, safer. When I was on the fire department, I always thought there was a better way and I worked hard to help for a better way of serving. And, I will always search for a better way to make this parish a better place to raise a family. In District 2, residents want someone available and responsive 24/7 when they have an issue. 

Wittmer graduated from Haughton High School in 2006 and met his wife at BPCC that same year. They been married for twelve years and have two children. During his time in the USAF he had the opportunity to meet and learn from some great leaders. He received an AS in Logistics and Transportation Management, a degree he has used to ensure the right people have the correct equipment and training in the most efficient and effective location. 

1. Why do you want to be a Police Juror for District 2? 

I have served our community one way or another for my entire life, whether completing service projects in the Boy Scouts, my time in the United States Air Force, or my work with various Veteran’s organizations; I’ve dedicated my life to service. I wanted to find a new way to serve and the Bossier Parish Police Jury seemed like an excellent opportunity to do so.

2. Tell me what your priorities will be for your area if elected? 

The three top issues I see as my future priorities are bringing more visibility to the Police Jury, grow the business sector in my district, and practice servant leadership to improve the quality of life to the individuals I hope to represent. 

3.  There are several issues that are important to Bossier residents. Transportation, economic development, infrastructure. How will you go about ensuring that these are addressed in your area and in Bossier Parish?

First and foremost we have talk to the business community and get down to the brass tacks of what they need/want to come to the district. We need to actively COURT businesses to come to our District. What regulations are overburdening the expansion of businesses in the community? What incentives can we put in place?

Infrastructure is an ongoing issue for the entire state. We need to find innovative ways to fix what could soon be a crippling issue for our District, Parish, and State. This has been brought to light with the explosive Fibrebond issue and has become impossible to ignore any longer. One item I would suggest is leasing naming rights for bridges to businesses. Fees paid for the leases would be dedicated funds to pay for the upkeep of those bridges.

4. Why should someone vote for you?

I care. I care about the area. I care about the people; this is home. That’s not to say others don’t, but I grew up on these roads; my first job was as a Courtesy Clerk at the Brookshires. I left to join the Air Force but jumped at the chance to come back when presented to opportunity. My wife and I could have chosen any area in the SBC when I received orders to Barksdale but we chose to come back home. I want to represent every member of the district.  I believe everyone should have a voice and I want to be that voice.