LIVINGSTON PARISH, La. (BRPOUD) – Election time is here and the president’s chair is up for grabs in Livingston Parish. Two Republican candidates are going head-to-head this election cycle to see who will be the next leader of the parish.

“Jeff’s just an old country boy from Livingston Parish. I love to hunt and fish. I love my family,” says Republican candidate Jeff Ard, District 1 Council Member.

“Randy is a family man. He’s a conservative Republican. He has been married for 21 years,” says Republican candidate Randy Delatte, District 8 Council Member.

Republican Layton Ricks has been in office for the last three terms. Now, two new candidates are in the running. Randy Delatte and Jeff Ard addressed two main topics in this election cycle, taxes and area development.

“I’m going to make sure that people are proud to say that I’m the leader of this parish and I will work hard for and do the job that needs to be done,” says Ard.

“The reason I’m a people’s candidate is I do listen. I hear and I govern with compassion. And I work every day on the problems or the issues that those people ask me to work on that are already living here,” says Delatte.

Delatte, who currently serves as Councilman for District 8, was once parish president and says he’s learned a lot over the last few decades. One is being a better listener.

“I felt like I was super smart. I didn’t have to listen to people. I was 35 years old the first time I got elected. I served eight years. I’m in my forties. I said, man, look how smart I am. I might be governor one day. And that attitude is is not productive for the people,” says Delatte.

Delatte says Livingston Parish has a 97 percent higher tax rate than any other county in the United States. Both candidates say passing off taxes to the consumer isn’t always the answer.

“I want to maximize the taxes we already collect and also maybe possibly give it back to the people that are paying taxes. People can spend their own money more wisely than government can,” says Delatte.

“I do feel like we have a couple of taxes that we already pay that we can probably look at redirecting some money,” says Ard.

Ard, a Livingston Parish native and superintendent for MMR, one of the largest electrical contractors in the region currently holds a councilmember seat for District 1. 

“I hold employees accountable. I hold contractors accountable. I have had over 200 employees under my direction. Sometimes I run 20 and 30 jobs at a time. All of this has, has me ready for this job,” says Ard.

When it comes to area development and zoning, Ard says not all growth is bad. It’s about dictating where it happens and ensuring it’s done the right way. 

“We need to sit down with our developers and our contractors and our citizens and find something that everybody can agree with. Zoning will allow us to dictate where certain types of developments are built. It will protect a lot of the living that most people want, which is country living,” says Ard.

“Development has to happen and it has to happen like everybody else says. And you know, when you have smart growth, everybody comes out ahead,” says Delatte.

With a number of seats up for re-election inside the parish and across the state of Louisiana, both candidates want people to pay attention to who they’re electing.

“We both talk to each other and whoever wins, we’re going to support the other one and hopefully we can get Livingston Parish moving in the right direction,” says Ard.

Delatte says it’s important to make an educated decision.

“I will encourage you to get educated and see what’s happened the last 3 to 4 years and make your decision on actions and not the words that’s being said this week,” says Delatte.

Election Day is October 14th.