Municipal elections heating up in parish

Published 12:01 am Friday, December 7, 2007

VIDALIA — The races for municipal elections are already beginning to heat up even though qualifying doesn’t begin until next Wednesday.

Up for election in the Feb. 9 election are the positions of mayor and alderman for the Vidalia, Ferriday and Clayton communities, and in Vidalia and Clayton voters will also choose chief of police.

The run-off, or general election, will be March 8.

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In Vidalia, the only confirmed challenger to Mayor Hyram Copeland as of yet is Bill Murray, a consultant and former alderman who said he plans to qualify for the election.

“This (decision to run) is not an indictment of the current administration,” Murray said. “It’s just something I have always wanted to do.”

For the chief of police position, current Chief of Police Billy Hammers released a statement announcing his bid for re-election Thursday morning, and Ronnie G. “Tapper” Hendricks, a former sheriff’s deputy of 11 years, has also announced his intent to run.

Hammers said he is proud that Vidalia has one of the lowest crime rates for a city its size in Louisiana.

“My law enforcement career began almost 30 years ago, so I feel I have the experience and maturity our police department needs,” Hammers said.

Hendricks pledged to be a “hands-on” police chief, and said, “Each call, each case and each person is important, and I want people to know that the Vidalia Police Department will follow up on every single call and then let the caller know what is happening in that case.”

Vidalian Ricky Williams is also advertising a bid for candidacy.

In the Ferriday mayoral race, former Ferriday Mayor Glen McGlothin has previously stated his intention to challenge incumbent Gene Allen. Allen defeated McGlothin, a three-term mayor, by 51 votes in 2004.

Ferriday resident and Catahoula-Concordia NAACP President the Rev. Justin Conner confirmed Thursday he too plans to run for the mayoral seat. Conner recently ran for the Concordia Parish Clerk of Court position.

Ferriday resident Wanda Ann Baker Smith has taken out early mayoral campaign advertisements, and Alex Promise — a former town administrative assistant who worked under McGlothin and briefly under Allen — said Thursday he also plans to make a bid for the position.

Promise ran for the position in 2004.

Rydell Turner, of Clayton, announced earlier this year his intention to run for mayor of that community after a short campaign for police juror.