St. Landry

Sep 30, 2010 7:59 PM by Carolyn Cerda

Opelousas Mayoral Race

Voter turnout is expected to be higher than normal in Opelousas, for the October 2nd election. This, as interest in the Mayor's race grows. Three candidates are challenging incumbent Donald Cravins, Sr.: Harvey Darbonne, the Rev. Frank Ford and Lena Anderson.

All three challengers spoke with KATC on Thursday, all saying the city needs new leadership.

"The people of Opelousas want a change," said Ford. "People want change... People are begging for a change," said Darbonne.

Harvey Darbonne is just coming off his first term as Alderman. Now, the retired educator hopes to make a bigger impact as Mayor. Darbonne says while his main focus will be on education, he also wants to improve infrastructure and bring in more businesses to Opelousas. "I have a vision, I have a plan in hand."

Meantime, Lena Anderson wants to bring in an outside perspective on city leadership.

"After going out, seeing the people, seeing the needs... It was very eye opening and quite emotional for me," said Anderson.

Anderson only moved to Opelousas 7 years ago, but says her previous experience in other cities and states is something she can use to help the city grow.

But, the Rev. Frank Ford says it's his long history and connection with Opelousas that appeals to voters.

"It's nice that the voters see my name recognition, and what I've done in the community," said Ford.

Ford was born and raised in Opelousas and owns several businesses in the city. He says that knowledge along with his reputation in the city should entice residents to vote.

"(I'm) the extreme opposite of the current administration. I come with compassion. I'm an Independent candidate."

But, all the talk about change is simply politics to the incumbent. Mayor Cravins says change is exactly what voters should be running from, as his administration is already progressing the city and change would go in the opposite direction.

"(The other candidates) pretend or portray an image that Opelousas is in such desperate need... yep, it's been there... But we are not there anymore," said Cravins.

The mayor points out the fact that within his 4 year term Opelousas has gained a new civic center and city hall, amongst other progressive projects.

"Now is not the time to talk about change. I think my record speaks for itself."

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