Candidates speak out in Ferriday

Published 12:04 am Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ROD GUAJARDO/The Natchez Democrat — Candidates for mayor in Ferriday spoke Monday during a public forum at the Arcade Theatre. Candidates are, from right, Joe Sontoyo, Johnnie Brown, Gene Allen and Justin Conner.

FERRIDAY — Election promises echoed the walls of the Arcade Theatre Monday afternoon, as the four candidates for mayor for the Town of Ferriday presented their platforms and answered questions from citizens.

The forum-style event was part of the third annual Martin Luther King Jr. service sponsored by the Doty Road Church of God and Ferriday Community Action.

Each candidate addressed a crowd of approximately 100 people with their platforms before answering three questions, each from the audience.

Gene Allen, who served as mayor from 2004 to 2008, highlighted monetary figures and successful programs from his previous administration.

“I served as mayor for four years, and in four years I left $2 million in surplus for the city to operate on,” Allen said. “I’m asking the citizens of this community — I need your vote, I need your support.”

Johnnie Brown, who is currently the District D alderman, highlighted his track record during his time on the board and his time on the Concordia Parish School Board.

“My love for this town has been the primary power behind my decision to seek your vote as a candidate for mayor and to manage our town,” Brown said. “I have what our town needs — experienced leadership and professional management abilities.”

Brown discussed several committees, such as education and recreation, he would implement as part of his vision to move Ferriday forward.

“For too long, Ferriday has been doing the same old thing over and over again,” Brown said. “It is time to do something different and make something different happen for better results.”

Joe Sontoyo, who is the town’s fire chief, said he needed the help of the entire community in order to accomplish his mayoral goals.

“My vision is for a better Ferriday, better finances, better water, recreation for our children, help our senior citizens, but none of this things can be done without helping each other,” Sontoyo said. “We all need to come together as one and accomplish these things.”

Justin Conner said one of his reasons for running for the position was to help Ferriday survive and move it forward into the future.

“It’s up to us that live here to make this place what it once was,” Conner said. “We need to make Ferriday a village, and a town, and a city where our kids, once they discover what they want to be, can at least come back and implement that in our communities.”

The Rev. Simeon Green, who helped organize the event, issued a challenge to all of the mayoral candidates.

“There are four candidates, and only one will win the election, so I want the other three to support the one who gets elected,” Green said.

“If we all rally behind that leader, with God as our focus, we can’t help but be blessed.”

A primary election will be March 24.