Candidates make their cases at parish NAACP forum

MORGAN CITY, La. — All five candidates for Morgan City mayor made presentations to the St. Mary Parish NAACP’s political forum at the municipal auditorium Thursday.

Reginald Weary, president of the parish chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said all the city candidates for the Nov. 6 election were invited.

“The forum gives the public an opportunity to see what it is they stand for,” he said.

The NAACP has completed a voter registration drive, and “now we can focus on getting the word out,” he said.

“We feel that if the public has a good understanding then they can make a better decision,” Weary said.

Also invited to the forum were candidates for the 3rd Congressional District seat, he said. Ron Richard, a Lake Charles Democrat, was the only congressional candidate to make a presentation.

Candidates for mayor each were given 10 minutes.

The three city council candidates attending, Ron Bias, District 3; Ronald Berry, District 4; and Louis Tamporello, District 5, were given five minutes each for their presentations.

Mayoral candidate presentations included:

-- Lee Dragna – “I’m running for mayor because there are so many things that need to be done in this town, and the only way changes can physically be made is from the outside. When I say ‘outside,’ I mean someone who is not in the system,” he said. Dragna stressed his experience running two shipyards that employ about 60 people.

-- Kevin Voisin – “Morgan City is at a crossroads. It needs a strong mayor with the right experience,” he said in citing his business and political experience as a four-term member of the parish council. “Some of the goals I have is the work to retain our existing businesses that are already here. We are always looking to bring in new businesses from outside without asking the local business owners what they need to expand to keep operating here.”

-- Bart Mancuso – “I love this city. It has been very good to me and my family, and I want to make the place better. I want to lead it out of its dormancy. I would like to lead it into a progressive era,” he said. Mancuso recently retired as recreation department director after 37 years with the city.

-- Larry Bergeron – “We need a complete team effort, and I’m not just saying team of the city and employees. I’m saying the entire citizens of Morgan City. There needs to be a team effort in whatever we do,” he said. Bergeron is a former chief administrative officer with the city.

-- Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi – “I’m the only candidate here who can say he has run for mayor before. Four years ago I ran for mayor,” he said. Grizzaffi said he received 42 percent of the vote in the previous mayoral election. Grizzaffi said the next mayor will find there is little money left for new spending. “One thing I can bring to the table is operations. If we can make changes in our city, it is going to have to come from the operational side,” he said.

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