ST. MARTINVILLE – The St. Martin Parish Democratic Executive Committee (SMPDEC) planned an informative candidate forum Thursday evening, but it seemed as though the candidates did not plan on being there.
About 40 people gathered at St. Martinville Sr. High to attend the town hall meeting and candidate forum that SMPDEC President Melba Braud and her cohorts organized. Braud said she was disappointed at the lack of candidates.
“We gave all the candidates the same opportunity to come,” Braud said. “We invited every judge from Morgan City to Catahoula and we invited every mayor in the (16th Judicial) district.”
The lone office-seeker in attendance was incumbent Judge Lori Landry who is vying to retain her seat as the 16th Judicial District’s Division H judge. Landry’s only opponent is Lucretia Pecantte-Burton of Jeanerette who was neither in attendance, nor did she send a representative.
Also, none of the Justice of the Peace candidates for Wards 3 or Ward 6 attended either.
The abbreviated event did begin with some pertinent information for parish voters shared by some local officials.
Parish Assessor Lawrence Patin explained the answer to a popular question at his office—“Why did my taxes double?” He explained key components of the recent reassessment and how the homestead exemption act is an integral part of the system.
Registrar of Voters Sue Thibodeaux gave a detailed explanation of the election process at individual precincts.
Though Clerk of Court Allen Blanchard could not attend, Pat Guidry acted as his representative explaining Blanchard’s unbiased role for the elections.
Though the candidates were in short supply, Braud said the audience was the largest she had seen for this type of event.