Indicted mayor tries to hang on to job
NEW ROADS, La (WVLA) -- In Pointe Coupee parish, the mayor's race weighs heavily on the minds of New Roads residents. Mayor Tommy Nelson tries to hang on to his position despite federal indictments, but a local businessman wants to give him a run for his money.
Over the summer, Nelson was indicted with several other mayors for racketeering and public bribery in Operation Blighted Officials, but that hasn't stopped him from running for re-election. Nelson squares off against newcomer Robert Myer in hopes of winning another four years in office.
Nelson expects to win the election today. He believes voters will choose him because of the work he has done in New Roads during his last term. Nelson says he's helped keep the budget for the city balanced, worked to provide infrastructure upgrades, and pumped millions into sewer projects.
"We're just doing really well in the city of New Roads," Nelson says. "It's kind of hard to campaign against successes like that."
However, a federal indictment looms over Nelson's head, making some voters wary. "I don't see how anyone with an indictment could run," says New Roads resident, Margaret LaCoq. "He's still innocent until proven guilty, but I think he should get all that behind him before he runs for election again."
Not everyone agrees. There are others who believe it's time to give Nelson a second chance. "I could care less what happens with that issue," says Cynthia Moore. "I'm just more concerned about what's going on in our community right now." Moore says she's happy with the way the city is currently being run.
Robert Myer, however, says it's time for a change. "They're looking for a fresh start, a fresh face," says the candidate running on the Independent ticket. "They're looking for a business person like me who will bring a business approach to do city business."
The local businessman wants to lower utility charges, better parks and roads in the area, and give the community a better image. "They need a leader with integrity," he says.
Myer doesn't think Nelson's current trouble with the law does the city any good. "New Roads suffers from an image problem and he [Nelson] contributed to that image problem."
Nelson doesn't seem worried about the charges. "People make a big issue about stuff and then it all comes out that its really nothing at all, so it's not weighing on my mind at all."
Both men say they're the best for the job. Voters have until 8pm to decide.
Tune in tonight for a special Decision 2010 edition of NBC33 News at Ten. We'll have complete election results.