Ferriday mayor’s race ballot full, two have held seat

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 4, 2008

Ferriday — Campaigning on progress and improving the town’s infrastructure, seven men and women are in the race for Ferriday’s mayoral seat.

Gene Allen

The one-term incumbent, Gene Allen is running because the town has projects in the works that he wants to see completed.

Email newsletter signup

“We have put into motion a plan to build a fire and police department combination building, and we have a water project we have not completed,” Allen said.

If re-elected, Allen said he wants to work with Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal to help further Ferriday.

“We are going to continue to do the progressive things we have started to do,” he said. “We have paid off the town’s debts. We had to come in and restructure the city because of the debts the previous administration left behind.”

Allen’s future plans include empowering citizens economically by bringing in new business.

He also wants to focus on youth recreation.

“I want to try to restructure the recreation complex to make sure the youth have something to do,” Allen said.

Justin Conner

The president of the Catahoula-Concordia NAACP, a minister in several area churches and a lifelong Ferriday resident, Justin Conner said he decided to run for mayor because of the potential he sees in the town.

“I know no doubt that if we can drive seven miles away and see progress and growth, there is potential if only we have a leader who is persistent and doesn’t want to micromanage,” he said. “Fifty years ago when we didn’t have money and we had less education, we were booming. Now we have more money and more education and we’re not booming.”

Conner’s plans for the town include placing commissioners in all of the departments, working to get adequate lighting on all of the town’s streets, implementing educational programs to help people move out of subsidized housing, working with the school district and increasing the pay of town employees.

“All we need to do (for Ferriday) is have one mind,” he said. “I am not coming to City Hall to be Boss Hogg. I want the voices of the people to be heard.”

Glenn Henderson

Glenn Henderson, a part-time employee at Ferriday High School, a retail employee and one-term alderman, said he decided to run to bring a new perspective to the town.

“I just think it is a good time for a change, for some different points of view in Ferriday,” he said.

The first things on his agenda are to unify the community and to clean up the image of the town, Henderson said.

“We need to clean up the perception of the community,” he said. “A lot of people have a negative perception of the town, and we need to clean up that image before we try to bring any businesses and industry into our area.”

His people skills and a connection with the community make Henderson an ideal candidate, he said.

“I think I have a good relationship with people in general,” Henderson said. “My goal is to be transparent, somebody people can know and talk with and know (I am) telling the truth because they know me.”

Glen McGlothin

Currently the director of marketing for the City of Vidalia, Glen McGlothin is a three-term former mayor of Ferriday, serving from 1988-1996 and again from 2000-2004.

McGlothin said he decided to run for the office again because he does not like the direction in which he sees the town heading.

“It’s getting a pretty bad reputation for writing tickets even though I believe there are going to be people who are going to get tickets no matter who the mayor is,” he said. “I have heard people are not being treated really well. You can write someone a ticket and still be nice.”

McGlothin also believes the town is not being aggressive in recruiting businesses, he said.

Among his plans for the future include working with the state to bring grants to the town to help clean it up, and he wants to capitalize on the work being done downtown with the Arcade Theatre, McGlothin said.

“There are a lot of musicians from Ferriday,” he said. “I want to capitalize on it being a small music Mecca.”

Evelyn L. Parker

Retired from a job at Alcorn State University, Evelyn L. Parker was an assistant town clerk under former mayor Woody Davis.

She decided to run in this election because she looked around and there were “some things that I have seen that I think could be changed I hope I can help change,” she said.

Parker said she has a unique perspective on the situation in Ferriday because she is retired.

“Once you have settled down and had a chance to observe how your surroundings are working, you can eventually see the complete picture and say ‘this is not right’ and ‘this is right,’” she said.

As for plans for the future, Parker said she wasn’t going to make any promises.

“I don’t make any promises I can’t keep,” she said. “All I bring to the table is my honesty and willingness to work.”

Alex Promise

A regional leader for a financial services company and former town administrative assistant, Alex Promise said he decided to run after observing many of Ferriday’s positive programs fizzle out.

“As a result of the current situation, my focus is on bringing those things back to the town,” he said.

Promise said he is also focused on stimulating Ferriday’s economy, resolving the long-standing water issue and working with reforming Ferriday’s police department.

“I am very displeased with what is happening with FPD,” he said. “They are writing tickets in record numbers compared to other small towns I have traveled to.”

He also plans to work to bring more recreation to the area, Promise said.

“On day one I am going to go after bringing back programs for the youth,” he said.

Wanda Ann Baker Smith

Running on a ticket of radical reform, Wanda Ann Baker Smith said her decision to run came after seeing how the town treats people.

“I am not running for authority, and I am not running for money,” she said. “I am running for the people. God put it on my heart to run.”

The number one issue on her platform is getting drugs off of the streets, Smith said.

“You can’t do anything for a town until you get both those who are selling (drugs) and those who are smoking (drugs) off the streets,” she said. “It is a real problem that needs to be dealt with.”

Cleaning up the police department and what she believes to be corruption in other city departments are also priorities to Smith. Addressing the town’s problems is a matter of the heart for Smith, she said.

“This is my home and these are my people,” she said.