National elections are over and there's a new family in the White House. And now we turn our attention to local politics - in particular, the Lake Charles mayor's race.
With Mayor Randy Roach's decision not to run for re-election, the door is wide open, and the contenders for mayor have come out in full force: Marshall Simien, a local attorney; Joe Banks, a pastor in the pulpit; Nic Hunter, a restaurateur and policed juror; Dana Carl Jackson, a city councilman; Chris Landry, a police juror; Wilford Carter, a former judge and state legislator; Eligha Guillory, a former assistant city administrator; and at the ripe old age of 24, a newcomer to politics, Gary Monbelly.
Each says he's the one to lead the City of Lake Charles into its next chapter of grandeur. But just who are they?
Let's begin with Joe Banks, a preacher who doesn't mind bringing politics to the pulpit.
Banks said, "You know actually, being a pastor is much like being a mayor. That means you have to manage people. You have to manage a budget. You have to deal with personnel. You know everything that a mayor has to deal with, a pastor has to deal with."
You'll find Banks every Sunday morning. preaching the word of God before his 700-member congregation at Living Word Christian Center in Lake Charles - a ministry that also has an international outreach.
But he's also a businessman who feels he can bring that entrepreneurial spirit to City Hall. One of his dreams, if elected mayor, is to bring a zoo to Lake Charles.
"I think as beautiful as Lake Charles is, the things that we have going here - it's really amazing that we have to go to Lafayette or Baton Rouge, or even Houston, for a zoo," he said.
But it takes more than dreaming of projects like that. It takes money - and with a whopping 10.75 percent sales tax, Lake Charles residents are already fed up with higher taxes.
Banks said he's proud he's not your typical politician. And he sums it all up in quite a colorful fashion
"The key definition for politics is this - 'poli' means 'many;' 'ticks' - 'blood sucking.' Blood sucking, thirsty parasites. Politics - many people that will suck life out of people. I don't consider myself to be that. I consider myself to be a public servant," he said.
Banks said he's already turning over day-to-day operations of his business ventures to other personnel to make sure he can devote all of his time to being that public servant.
Tuesday night at 10 p.m., KPLC will continue our candidate profiles with police juror Nic Hunter. Election Day is Saturday March 25.
Copyright 2017 KPLC. All rights reserved.