Port Allen voters made it clear Saturday – they want a change in leadership.
Voters elected Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter to be the city’s newest mayor for the next four years, as Slaughter received 55% of the vote to top incumbent Roger Bergeron in the mayoral run-off election.
The Slaughter victory comes a month after Port Allen voters elected Esdron Brown as the new Police Chief over incumbent Ken Bates.
“I’m really excited about the way that the election turned out,” Slaughter said in a Tuesday morning telephone interview. “It was a lot of work involved and there were some tedious times, but all of that paid off.
“I want to give the voters my sincere thanks. I’m so elated that they gave me their support - and the things that they want to see happen in Port Allen, I want to be able to work through some of those things and make the citizens proud that they have selected a leader that will get there and just look out for the betterment of them.”
Outgoing Mayor Bergeron said he, too, was thankful for his supporters, even though he came up short in the race.
“Obviously, there’s disappointment that comes with losing. But I’m very appreciative and proud of the effort my supporters put out for me,” he said.
Bergeron said that his loss shows that the people of Port Allen simply wanted a change in leadership.
“I obviously did not convince enough people that I was a mayor for the entire city. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “I lost pretty handily. That tells me my influence, my record, was not enough to convince enough people to vote for me again.”
Bergeron, by a mere 17 votes, defeated Slaughter in a 2011 mayoral race to become the city’s mayor for the remaining one year of the four-year term left by former mayor Derek Lewis after Lewis was sentenced to federal prison for his part in what was deemed “Operation Blighted Officials.”
Bergeron said the major difference between this year’s election and last year’s was the voter turnout.
During the November 19, 2011 election, Bergeron edged Slaughter by 17 votes out of 2,225 total votes. In Saturday’s election, Slaughter defeated Bergeron by nearly 300 votes out of the 2,610 total votes counted, according to the Secretary of State.
“An additional 300 voters turned out. That speaks for itself,” Bergeron said.
Moving forward, Slaughter said that she plans to reach out to the members of the city council and begin developing good relationships with each of them.
“That’s my first thing; I want to get together and put our heads together and brainstorm and see just how we, as the mayor and the council, can come together and move Port Allen forward,” she said.
She said she knows that in the past few years, members of the council have not always been in agreement with the mayor and one another, but hopes she will be able to work closely with each council member to improve the city.
“You’re going to have a difference of opinions, but at the end of the day, I really truly believe that the decisions will be made for the betterment of the city of Port Allen,” she said. “I believe that the council will come together to make sure that Port Allen continues to run in a productive matter, putting all citizens at the forefront of all these decisions. It’s all about the citizens.”
Bergeron said that he applauds the work Slaughter and her supporters did.
“As a competitor, she and her supporters, they got the job done. So, you have to give them credit for that,” he said. “How she’ll do as mayor, I have no idea. Once you walk through that door, slogans aren’t going to help you anymore.”
Bergeron said, though, that he is not ruling out a return to politics, though he plans to enjoy his return to retirement.
“Never say never, but I was thinking had I won this term, that probably would have been it anyway. But you never know,” he said. “I never intended to be a career politician, so to speak. I just came in here to do what I thought I could do and if that’s the end of the chapter, that’s it. I won’t have had any regrets looking back.”
Slaughter said that she plans to come into office with the idea of “fairness.”
“We are one city, one people. We want Port Allen to be a city of unity and togetherness with all the citizens in mind,” she said, adding that the voters chose to elect her, and she will do everything within her power to help move Port Allen forward.