By Stacey Tinsley & Sean Green, firstname.lastname@example.org
[Ed.’s Note: This is the final entry in a series profiling local Bossier races ahead of the Nov. 6 election.]
Plain Dealing residents will have to select a new leader for the town at the polls on Nov. 6.
Voters will select between current mayor David Smith, Cindy Dodson and former mayor Wiley Robinson.
The Press-Tribune reached out to the candidates to ask them questions regarding their candidacy.
Incumbent David Smith has lived in Plain Dealing since purchasing Walker Bros Drug in 1979. He has been active in the community having been a member of the Plain Dealing Jaycees and Plain Dealing Lions Club and was co-chairman of the Plain Dealing Centennial Committee in 1990, when Plain Dealing celebrated its 100th year as a town. He is a member and deacon of the Plain Dealing Baptist Church and serves as treasurer of the Plain Dealing Ministerial Alliance. He has also served Carrie Martin Elementary and Plain Dealing High School in a fund raising capacity.
Why did you want to run for Mayor? I first ran for Mayor in 1998 when Mayor Leon Sanders decided not to run for re-election. I had been in Plain Dealing as a business owner for twenty years, I had an interest in wanting Plain Dealing to continue to thrive as a community. I served for six years and did not run for re-election in 2004 because my business was taking more of my time. In 2016 Plain Dealing was once again going to have a new Mayor when then Mayor Wiley Robinson chose not to run. I was looking to sell my business and retire therefore I qualified and was elected again. The Town Council and I have done some great things the past two years, but we still have some issues to address. I want to finish what we have started and continue to move Plain Dealing forward.
What is your goal? My most immediate goal is to find a solution to our water issues. We have tried several different approaches to this problem, without success. While we have made progress, the problem is still there. We are looking at other means to fix the problem, including a different treatment process. While we are always looking for new businesses to locate here and industry to come here, the competition from other cities in very great. The start-up costs for a new business and the likely hood of failure is very high. The lack of a trained workforce has always worked against us. but we continue to seek out new businesses.
How to you think you can impact the community? I have always believed in supporting the businesses here in Plain Dealing. It makes no sense to me to drive out of town to buy things that can be purchased here. When I owned my pharmacy, service to my customers was what made us successful, caring about your people is what made them want to do business with us. It is the same in Government, treat all people fairly and honestly, listen to their complaints and problems tell them you will try to find a solution to their problem, but also be honest, if you are prevented by law from helping the situation, tell them why.
We are a small close knit community, most people know each other. It will take everyone working together and supporting one another for us to continue the lifestyle of our town as we know it. We have to welcome new people as they come to town, and make them a part of our community.
Why should someone vote for you? This year will mark the eighth year I have served as Mayor of Plain Dealing, the longest any Mayor has served since Mayor Sanders’s forty years of service. I have the needed experience and knowledge to successfully run the affairs of our town. I have worked with our State Representatives and Senators to help secure grant funding for upgrades to our water and sewer departments. I have attended Louisiana Municipal Association meetings working with its leadership to improve the wise use of the resources of the town. The people of Plain Dealing know me, my values, and that I would never to anything to discredit the town.
Cindy Anderson Dodson is retired from serving as secretary of the Bossier Parish Police Jury. She also served as mayor pro tem on the Plain Dealing Town Council for the past four years and is also an elder and clerk of session for the First Presbyterian Church in Plain Dealing. Cindy and her husband G.M. have been married for 43 years and enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.
Why did you want to run? Having served on the town council for the past four years, I’ve become familiar with the day-to-day operations of the town and the problems we continue to face. With my past career and my time on the town council, I’ve worked in local government for almost 30 years and it has become very frustrating for me to watch the town continue to decline and see no real efforts being made to move us in a better direction. For us to ever move forward things must change. We can do better and it’s time to get started.
What is your goal? I want to see the town’s infrastructure improved. I want to see our ongoing water issues resolved. Everyone in Plain Dealing wants more businesses in the town with the potential to create jobs for our citizens and the hope of bringing new families to the community. We have to work together to get our town ready and more appealing to businesses looking for a location, and to young families in search of a new place to call home. I want to begin working with other local agencies and communities, and research all opportunities and grants that may be available to us. We have to promote our town. Community involvement is very important to the town’s future. We all want the town to become better and so many people have expressed an interest in getting involved. At a recent candidate forum, I heard several good ideas from members of the audience and I encourage them to pursue those ideas. The community must get involved to make these things a reality. We have to work together to move the town forward.
What do you want voters to know about you? I want the voters to know that I have the experience and the desire to work as hard as I can to improve the town. I worked for the Bossier Parish Police Jury for over 25 years and I know and understand the workings of local government. I have a strong work ethic and take great pride in my work. I will expect the members of the town council to be involved and work together. As I’ve told voters during my campaign I can’t make promises, but what I can promise is that I will work as hard as I can to do my very best to serve this town.
How do you think you can impact the community? Community involvement is the one of the most important ways to impact our community. I want to form committees of two council members each, to work on various issues. I’ve had several people contact me telling me how much they want to be involved in seeing the town have community wide events again. With the help of these citizens, working with a committee of two council members, I would love to see us have events similar to our neighboring towns. I want the town to work more closely with our school. We have wonderful teachers and students and they deserve to be recognized for their achievements. I would appoint a school relations committee to work directly with the school to keep the town informed on school events and to ensure that our students are recognized. These are only a couple of examples of the ideas I have for committees. The town council must be involved and must be kept informed. They ran for election to this office to serve the town and it’s time they have that opportunity.
Why should someone vote for you? I am qualified and more than willing to do my very best to be a good Mayor. Plain Dealing is my home and it’s important to me. We all want the same things; we just have to be willing to work hard for it. Plain Dealing has become the forgotten town in Bossier Parish and this has to change. The town has only continued to decline and we have to begin to work for the future.
Wiley Robinson previously served as mayor of Plain Dealing for two terms. Wiley is married to his wife Abby, father of four children and grandfather to nine grandchildren. He is alumni from Northwestern State University and worked for Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry for 30 years. He is a member of McLeod Tabernacle Church in McLeod Texas.
Why did you want to run? To serve the people of Plain Dealing to help improve the community.
What is your goal? To bring in new business to Plain Dealing, continue to work on improving the infrastructure of the town, work with the school board on a way to help our school. I would love to work with the Bossier Parish School Board to make Carrie Martin a youth center for kids and technical or vocational school.
What do you want voters to know about you? In my previous four year administration, 11 streets were paved, applied and received a grant for the waste water treatment, plant improvements of around $300,000, started the first retirement plan for town employees and pay raises for the employees, worked well with Police Jury for improvements streets and bridges in the town, worked with deputy/program director Ken Gay for the youth program, help police department in Plain Dealing with purchase of two new vehicles and equipment. I worked well with parish, state, and federal officials for the betterment of the Town of Plain Dealing and will continue to do so by applying for grants and attending meetings and functions.
How do you think you can impact the community? I love all aspects of politics. I believe in working with all people and helping. I love to talk and listen. I respect what people have to say and will always take time to listen and will always do my best to try to help to the best of my ability.
Why should someone vote for you? I will to do everything in my power to work hard for the Town of Plain Dealing, to be honest, fair and respectful to all the citizens of Plain Dealing. I sincerely appreciate your vote.