Citizens of Port Allen,
My name is Jason Hammack. As a citizen and business owner in Port Allen, I have grown increasingly concerned with what seems to be indifferent, if not unresponsive, answers from our local government. Port Allen sits at a literal crossroads of a major highway and interstate. We are the seat of our West Baton Rouge Parish government. Port Allen citizens should be flourishing with jobs, businesses, and increasing property values. It is worrisome when I only see those things happening in surrounding communities.
First, let me tell you a little about myself. I started my work career during summers between school as a cook working at a well-known, local seafood restaurant. This continued during college until I enlisted in the United States Air Force, where I performed maintenance as a crew chief on KC-135R StratoTanker aircraft. During my years in the USAF, I served overseas on multiple deployments to the Middle East and Africa. After serving, I joined Cessna Aircraft Company as an aircraft mechanic and eventually became an airworthiness inspector for the manufacture of one type of Cessna’s business jets.
Moving back to Baton Rouge in 2001 to be closer to my family, I got back into the restaurant business. My wife, Kristy, and I have lived in Port Allen since 2006. We decided to move and raise our family here because we both enjoyed living in small towns where one can form lasting friendships. We began to get involved in the Port Allen community and decided to open our own restaurant in 2008. Over the years, we have joined the Rotary Club of Port Allen, where I served as President for two consecutive terms. I was appointed to both the Board of Directors of the West Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau and elected to the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors where I have been able to give my input regarding issues for small businesses in West Baton Rouge Parish. Serving on the Economic Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce has allowed me to gain valuable insight and relationships. I have also served on the Governmental Affairs Committee for the Chamber, where I was able to advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurship at the local and state levels.
Citizens of Port Allen should enjoy the benefits of a local government that formulates sound fiscal policy, attracts and nurtures business relationships, and reaches out to other area elected officials for coordination and partnership. More often, I see a recurring theme from our city officials highlighted by a lack of participation and absence of planning with our neighboring towns and parish government. This has made me realize OUR city is at a metaphorical crossroads as well. We could continue down the path of stagnation, or we can pull together and compel our city government to do better.
Partnerships can be formed with our parish to meet and exceed the future needs of our community. Our city has infrastructure issues which must be rapidly addressed through the identification of additional funding sources at the state and federal levels if we are to become the city we envision. Our elected officials must also work together to formulate ideas with our input to entice new businesses to locate in our city. This could result in more local business ownership and better jobs for our citizens. The potential of our small city is not limited to its size. City Hall must have the vision and character to LISTEN to every idea on how to fund and implement needed improvements. Through these actions, we CAN make our community a better place to raise our children and care for our families.
Port Allen has the potential to GROW and PROSPER alongside our neighboring communities if our elected officials are humble enough to realize we must come together and listen to our constituents AND each other when they have issues, concerns, and ideas. We all want a safe and prosperous city to live, work, and raise our children.
With that being said, I have decided to run for Mayor of the City of Port Allen. As Mayor, I WILL have an “open-door policy” to all citizens. I WILL always do my best to be available to any citizen of Port Allen who wants to bring an issue or idea forward to make our city a better place to live and work. I WILL work together with all members of the city council to listen to their concerns and ensure we WILL do everything we can to address those issues in each of their districts. I WILL work together with our police chief to formulate and implement plans to better train and equip our police officers and foster a better relationship between our community and those who choose to serve as police officers. I WILL reach out to the other government entities in West Baton Rouge Parish, to identify partnerships, which could be beneficial to all. I WILL exhaustively work to improve our city for the betterment of all who live and work here.
Please meet with me, talk with me, ask me questions. Share with me your thoughts, your ideas, and your concerns. I hope I can earn your vote so we can become partners in a rejuvenated Port Allen. Together, we can grow as a community. Together, we can reach new heights. TOGETHER, we will PROSPER.