Profiling Bossier Parish Police Jury Dist. 3 candidates

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

Voters in Bossier Parish Police Jury District 3 will select a new representative. The position has been held by Wanda Bennett, who is not seeking re-election.

Candidates for the position are Martha Peace Reyenga (R-Benton), Philip Rodgers (R-Benton), Wes Shepherd (R-Benton), Jim Viola (R-Bossier City), and Robert Williams (R-Benton).

Below is a question and answer session with three of the candidates. Shepherd and Viola did not respond to questions by deadline.

Martha Peace Reyenga was raised in Benton and currently resides there. Reyenga has three daughters who attended Benton schools, a stepdaughter and stepson. Reyenga has seven grandchildren, who have either graduated from Benton schools or currently attend Benton schools.   

Reyenga was employed with the St. Louis Southwestern Railway Company prior to her employment with the United States Postal Service. Her career with the USPS consisted of 31-plus years, retiring as postmaster in June 2010.  She was responsible for over 350 employees — managing a more than $30 million operating budget. Reyenga graduated the Advanced Leadership Management Program, Potomac, Maryland.

Q: Why do you want to be a Police Juror for District 3?

A: My entire career has been a servant to the public. I am dedicated to bringing change to this government body, and I would also be continuing as a servant to the public in this position.

Q: Priorities for District 3 if elected?

A: Making myself available, listening to, and working with the constituents of District 3. Working to improve and opening communication lines within the different bodies in the parish. I want the opportunity to open the BPPJ meetings to allow more public attendance and input. And, I would revisit the guidelines regarding construction sites built that could/would possibly flood in the future.

Q: Important concerns for residents include transportation, economic development, and infrastructure. How would you ensure they are addressed in District 3 and Bossier Parish overall?

A: I am very adamant when it comes to my voice being heard and that includes speaking for my district. We have real transportation needs, we have outgrown our transportation network due to the growth we have experienced so quickly in the parish. I truthfully do not know if there is a “catch-up” to this concern, but I do believe the BPPJ is working to improve transportation concerns. We are so close to Bossier City – that business development will move slowly into our northern area – but it is needed.  Recreation areas in the Benton/Plain Dealing part of the parish for our youth (are needed). Budgets (need to be balanced) with productive workforces. Our investments should be focused toward our youth receiving the best education possible, because in the future, they will be our business and political leaders. Communicating cannot be stressed enough, (we need) open lines of communication. Living in an impatient world, progress is never moving at the speed we, as individuals, think it should; having a voice and working together will bring resolutions. 

Q: Why should someone vote for you?

A: Voting for me assures you a VOICE within the BPPJ — a listening ear and an individual that has the work ethics to get the job done.  

Philip Rodgers, is a second-generation homebuilder, developer, and small business owner.  He has lived in Benton for more than 20 years. Rodgers is married to his wife Jenny, for almost 10 years. They have two sons, Noah and Aiden. Rodgers has also been building the St. Jude Dream Home for the last 10 years.  

Q: Why do you want to be a Police Juror for District 3?

A: I’ve lived in Benton for 20 years, I run my construction businesses in Bossier Parish, I’ve developed a subdivision in Benton, and I’m raising my family here. So, I am fully invested in the success and growth of Benton and Bossier Parish. And, with my experience, I am uniquely qualified for this position. I want to help Benton grow while maintaining the charm that we all love about our community.  

Q: Tell me what your priorities will be for your area if elected?  

A: I will push for the Swan Lake/Crouch Road connection to happen sooner rather than later.  That extra North-South corridor will alleviate so many traffic headaches in Bossier Parish. Also, I want to really dive into the lack of internet offered in our area. Many have complained about the lack of access, including me, and I want to help bridge that gap.

Q: 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?

A: The traffic in north Bossier has to be a priority for our parish. Again, advocating for the Swan Lake/Crouch Road connection to happen will help with that. We are seeing huge growth in Bossier Parish and Benton specifically. I want to make sure that commercial properties are in places that make sense and that zoning is closely monitored. Benton has a small town charm and we don’t want to lose that, but we do want to see more businesses north of I-220.

Q: Why should someone vote for you?  

A: I will not do anything in your backyard that I wouldn’t want done in mine. What you see is what you get with me. I also have the ability to bring people to the table and find a solution to problems. 

Robert Williams was born and raised in Benton. After graduating high school, Williams went on to receive his business degree from Louisiana Tech University. Williams is married with five children and has four grandchildren. He is also a longtime independent business owner and currently resides in Benton.

Q: Why do you want to be a Police Juror for District 3? 

A: I would like to give back to a community that has been a large part of my success.  I want a place for my children and grandchildren to grow up in a safe environment. We have a great opportunity to keep our young people here for their future success.

Q: Tell me what your priorities will be for your area if elected?

A: Parish wide sewage and water system, internet access for all areas, work with local and state government for new development of east/west as well as north/south roads for the parish, and development of parks for our children. 

Q: 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?

A: The infrastructure needs major work for the continued growth in Bossier Parish. We will need to seek outside private sources for addressing these major concerns of us all. We need to set up a 5-, 10-, and 20-year plan to reach these goals.

Q: Why should someone vote for you?

A: I am a responsible and a man of my word. I have the background to be an excellent servant to the people of Bossier Parish. With my years of being an independent business owner, I know the value of our money and I believe that I will be a great asset to the Bossier Parish Police Jury.