Drainage, rec on District 1B candidates’ minds

Published 12:08 am Sunday, October 14, 2007

VIDALIA — Two candidates are in the race to win the slot for District 1B on the Concordia Parish Police Jury.

Barbara DePrato

An advertising sales representative for The Natchez Democrat, Barbara DePrato, 49, said she decided to run for the position because of what she considers a serious drainage issue, especially in the Clayton area.

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“When it rains, the ditches overflow and water backs up into people’s yards and stands for weeks at a time,” she said. “Think about the health problems that come with that. People’s children are playing in those yards.”

If elected, DePrato promised to be accessible to her constituents.

“I will be available,” she said. “When you’re being paid taxpayer money for a service, that’s not something to be taken lightly.”

DePrato said she decided to run for the position to take a proactive role in the community.

“It’s so easy for us to sit back and complain about things not getting taken care of,” she said. “This is my way of getting things done for my area.”

Joe “Bear” Parker

One term incumbent Joe “Bear” Parker, 56, said he wants to continue the work he started with the police jury.

“Four years ago part of my campaign was to try to bring some cohesiveness to the jury,” he said. “We couldn’t get anything done unless we had some cohesiveness between the entire jury, so part of my focus was to develop some trust between my fellow jurymen.”

Parker also said it was his goal to get a constructive recreation program and better roads for the district.

Affordable housing is also one of his priorities, Parker said.

“When I am reelected, the first thing on the agenda is to get myself and the president of jury and our representatives and senator to Baton Rouge to get these monies and help the people in Concordia Parish to get affordable housing,” he said.

“This isn’t about me, this isn’t about Joe Parker,” he said. “This is about Concordia Parish.”

Parker is an 18-year employee of the LaSalle Community Action Agency.