2 vying for Caddo Parish District 12 Commissioner in runoff election

Updated: Nov. 9, 2017 at 7:03 PM CST
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CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - There are two people hoping to grab the spot of Caddo Parish District 12 Commissioner in the upcoming run-off election.

The run-off election is between the current interim commissioner Louis Johnson and a new hopeful, John Cunningham who some say seemingly came out of nowhere

Current interim commissioner Louis Johnson is a former Shreveport Fire Department Chief.

He says his history in public service has helped him fill the role.

"When our citizens call I respond. And I think they're a lot of work that to be done. I think that the citizens have shown their confidence that I'm able to do the job and I'm looking forward to continue to serve the citizens of District 12."

Johnson is running against newcomer John Cunningham, who says he isn't used to being in the public eye, but he feels he can offer a new perspective.

"Sometimes a fresh voice helps. Sometimes a new set of eyes helps. I'm not your typical politician."

District 12 covers the western part of the parish, which includes the former GM plant.

Johnson says his relationship with one of the companies leasing space in the plant, Glovis, will help revitalize the area.

"I think we need to take a look at the contract as it is. Make sure that it's beneficial for our citizens. And then try to look for every opportunity to bring business, business, business."

Cunningham says the GM plant used to thrive and lots of people from the district worked there.

He says the economy is suffering without it, and he doesn't think Elio is the solution.

If elected, Cunningham says he would work to get the public answers on where Elio stands.

"People are antsy. They want to know what kind of time frame we're looking at. They've had a good bit of time now to show something and nothing's really been shown."

When it comes to Elio, Johnson says he's had to weigh the benefits vs the risks.

"If they do not come, we've lost nothing other than the time and the investment in that respect. If they do come, we have the potential of gaining over a thousand jobs, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1400 jobs."

Johnson says if Elio has another failed attempt then if re-elected, he would start looking at other options for the GM plant with the contract holders.

"I think that we can motivate those people who are in place now to work harder. Let's get jobs moving this way. We've got an excellent plant. We've got an excellent location. We simply need to find an opportunity to bring good paying jobs to the area."

Both candidates agree transparency with the people of District 12 is important.

Cunningham says regardless of who they vote for people should vote.

"Turnout was abysmal in the general. And we have people in other countries that are willing to risk their lives for the right to vote. So please get out and exercise your constitutional right."

The runoff election will be Saturday, November 18 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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