Mayor’s Corner: Friends from politics

Published 1:06 pm Saturday, August 13, 2022

By Leesville Mayor Rick Allen

Recently we ran for the position of second vice president of the Louisiana Municipal Association. Within the organization there are 303 municipalities and in this particular statewide race each municipality gets one vote. The vote can only be cast by one person present; either be the mayor or council member. This election is held at the business meeting of the annual convention. This year it was held in Lafayette and we knew it would be a big turnout because frankly people are ready to get out and fellowship after being cheated out of the convention in 2020 due to the pandemic. We came back together for the 2021 Conference in Baton Rouge but only about half turned out because people were still being careful.

After hearing I had an opponent, I reached out to him to see if we could come to a compromise. I did this because I knew it would be my last opportunity to run for that office; as I intend to exit municipal government and enter a bigger race at the end of this term. We talked and unfortunately, we could not come to an agreement. We wished each other luck and the campaign began immediately. In June we traveled around this great state to 10 district meetings. Each of us were able to give a speech to the elected leadership of the districts. After each of our speeches we would hug each other and offer words of encouragement to each other. These actions were noticed and appreciated by the members as they had never witnessed two opponents be so kind to each other. On multiple occasions we even sat together prior to our campaign speech. Through all this a friendship was developed.

Over the course of the campaign, I learned that Mayor David Toups of Addis is one of the finest people I have ever met. We have become good friends and will work together in the LMA organization for a very long time to come. I was fortunate enough to win that election on July 27th but I’m most grateful to meet a man on the other side of this state that will be a friend forever. My wife Traci said to me, I just love Melissa; his wife, she is so much fun and so nice. We invited them to come for a weekend to go boating on Toledo Bend and we are looking forward to spending time with them very soon.

Here are a few thoughts that I’ve learned during this campaign journey:  A wise man once said as leaders your goal should be to build a team so strong that when someone from the outside looks at you all they can’t tell who the boss is and that’s exactly what the LMA has done.

Don’t automatically assume your opponent is the enemy it could be two people just headed the same direction to the same goal at the same time.

I hope that I get the opportunity to vote for him in another race very soon.