Talk to anyone about what draws them to a particular city, and they'll tell you quality of life is a big factor.
Marshall Simien said that was a big part of his decision to enter the race for mayor.
"I actually have a 10- year-old daughter whose mother was talking to her about staying in Lake Charles. And she asked me 'Dad, what is Lake Charles gonna look like when I'm 21?' And so I said, I'm accountable to her for answering that question," he said.
And what better way to have some input into what kind of city his little girl will inherit than to become mayor and help shape its future.
"My campaign slogan is 'Lake Charles strong' and somebody said to me, 'You're saying Lake Charles is weak?' And I said, 'No, Lake Charles is strong.' Lake Charles is an eight cylinder engine running on about four," Simien said. "
Simien is a local attorney who represents businesses in the courtroom. He served two terms on city council, two years on the port board, and one year on police jury.Simien said the city is overlooking a tremendous asset that can bring in revenue without raising taxes.
"Look at the I-10 corridor. We have the most underdeveloped corridor between California and Florida - I did some numbers where we get 70,000 cars a day - that's $1 billion a year. Not many people have that kind of engine," he said.
If elected mayor, Simien said a major priority would be getting the I-10 Bridge replaced and not just repaired. And the Enterprise Boulevard extension is high on his list of priorities as well. The city spent $13 million on this project, with hopes that it would provide another north-south corridor. But it came to an abrupt halt - a road to nowhere.
"Yeah, the road was going somewhere and when I got out of office, it just seemed to sit there on the vine. But if I was still in office, it probably would be connected to 171 by now," Simien said.
Completion of the Enterprise Boulevard extension would go a long way in revitalizing the economy, and closing the gap between north and south for future generations.
Tune in Wednesday at 10 p.m. on 7 News Nightcast, when KPLC will sit down with candidate Gary Monbelly.
All eight mayoral candidates have agreed to participate in a forum, hosted by KPLC-TV, from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 15, and will be broadcast live on KPLC-TV, kplctv.com, the KPLC mobile app and the KPLC Facebook page. For more information, click HERE.
Got questions for the candidates? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we may include them in our forum.
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