Elected mayor at 23, Tyrin Truong has plans for Bogalusa’s future

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 5:30 PM CST
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BOGALUSA, La. (WVUE) - Two-term incumbent Wendy Perrette was voted out of office Tuesday night (Nov. 8), replaced by Bogalusa voters with one of the youngest new mayors in Louisiana history.

Tyrin Truong won the office with 56 percent of the vote Tuesday, in a race that saw Perrette (19 percent) finish third.

Truong said he was inspired to return to his hometown to make a difference and now has his sights set on doing just that. At just 23 years old, Truong speaks confidently about Bogalusa’s future.

“We always talk about diversity in terms of race, sex and gender. Let’s talk about diversity in terms of age,” said Truong, a policy director for the Urban League of New Orleans. “We need more young people involved.”

Tyrin Truong, 23, was elected mayor of Bogalusa on Tuesday (Nov. 8), unseating two-term...
Tyrin Truong, 23, was elected mayor of Bogalusa on Tuesday (Nov. 8), unseating two-term incumbent Wendy Perrette.(Tyrin Truong campaign)

With three times as many votes as the incumbent received, Truong said it’s clear Bogalusa residents wanted change.

“Generally, when there’s a high crime rate, (voters) blame the mayor and take out their frustrations on the mayor,” said Dr. Robert Collins of Dillard University’s School of Public Policy. “(Voters) saw that young face and said, ‘Let’s give this person a shot.’”

Truong said he is determined to make a difference in a town that has seen more than 60 shootings and seven murders this year, including a Covington teen killed outside a Bogalusa football game last month, and a slain prominent rap artist who was a friend.

“Yeah, JayDaYoungan was my classmate,” Truong said.

Truong has a political science degree from Washington University, where he served as student body president. He said he decided to return home after seeing the film “Milltown,” by fellow Bogalusa native Kevin Magee, in February 2021.

“By watching ‘Milltown’ and seeing how far the city has gone into decline, it made me say, ‘I think I want to go home after college and run for something,’” Truong said.

“He watched the film and said it inspired him to move back home,” said Magee, who wound up helping with Truong’s campaign. “Did I believe him at the time? No, I didn’t.”

But 21 months later, Truong was elected to head Bogalusa’s city administration. Winning 56 percent of the primary vote, he exceeded the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a December runoff.

He matches Phillip Cavins, elected as the 23-year-old mayor of Turkey Creek in 2019, as the youngest mayor in Louisiana history.

As Mayor Truong, he will be able to appoint his own police chief. Truong said he would like to see more community policing in his hometown, in an effort to make it safer than it’s been in years.

“We have a lot to clean up,” Truong said. “But we are going to try our best to walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Truong said he’s already talking with one business that wants to relocate to downtown Bogalusa. He also said he wants to reinvigorate city parks, re-establish youth programs and change laws dealing with blighted properties.

“I think we are just as good as any other city, but poor leadership has led us down a sad road. And hopefully, we can reverse that,” Truong said.

Perrette wished Truong well in her concession statement, but also said, “Young Tyrin has demonstrated repeatedly during this campaign that he lacks the skills necessary to lead and unite our city.”

Truong responded that he looks forward to working with Mayor Perrette on their transition, and is committed to trying to unify Bogalusa. He will take his oath of office in two months.

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