Two candidates in Jefferson Parish president’s race size up campaigns as election day nears

Jefferson Parish President candidates

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -The two major candidates for Jefferson Parish president feel good about their chances of winning when voters head to the polls on Oct. 12.

Current at-large parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng wants voters to promote her to the parish presidency.

Former Jefferson Parish President John Young is asking voters to return him to his old job as parish government’s top leader.

The latest campaign finance reports submitted to the state show Lee Sheng had contributions totaling over $157,000 and after disbursements of $194,000 the funds on hand at the close of the reporting period were $493,251.13.

By comparison, Young’s campaign finance report showed the amount of funds on hand were $452,825.99 and total contributions of $79, 382.76 and disbursements of $39,049.79.

Lee Sheng said her war chest reflects a lot of contributions and spending on the campaign.

"What we feel is that there's a momentum on my campaign, I mean we raised double the amount and of course we're running an aggressive, very aggressive campaign. I think I probably spent four times the amount that he spent,” said Lee Sheng.

Young is also pleased with his level of fundraising.

"That means that we have a great groundswell of support. We've gotten a great response from people who want to support our campaign from all walks of life,” stated Young.

Both said crime would be a top priority if elected and each boast of crimefighting credentials.

"I'm the only candidate in the race that has Jefferson Parish law enforcement [experience]. I was a prosecutor, I led the first post-conviction tracking unit for the DA's Office, I was chief of administration, chief of parish courts,” said Young.

Lee Sheng pointed to a different type of crimefighting experience.

"I was a federal law enforcement officer for 10 years with the Dept. of Justice and I actually did go to work with a gun on and having those duties as a federal law enforcement officer in trying to keep our community and our country safe, and of course I’m from a law fighting family, my father was Sheriff Harry Lee,” said Lee Sheng.

Neither wants to raise taxes.

"No, I won’t. I believe, you know, we looked at taxes and we looked at making sure we could provide as many services we can with the revenue that we’ve received and I actually started a tax re-dedication committee to look at that,” said Lee Sheng.

Young said he would work to rededicate money from what he called slush funds related to the parish council.

"I will absolutely not look to raise taxes, in fact I was praised by my opponent when I left office the last time for fiscal management skills and fiscal stewardship,” said Young. “Each district councilperson has money that they can spend at their whim, and I think it would be helpful for the parish to take a more parish-wide focus and look at putting those funds into the general fund but still allow those monies to be used for district projects.”

Lee Sheng and Young said they would work to increase economic development in Jefferson Parish.

"We need to try to attract and use smart economic development principles to bring some clean economic development opportunities to Jefferson Parish,” Young stated.

"Economic development starts here in Jefferson Parish with attracting businesses that maybe are sort of new to us. I've been pushing living with water and I strongly believe that we in our area should be developing products that can show the rest of the world how we live with water,” said Lee Sheng.

Both want to attract more young people to live in the parish and improve the housing stock.

And with less than a month remaining in the campaign, both Lee Sheng and Young feel good about their chances.

"We're encouraged, we're in a great position to win this race and we're going to continue to move forward,” said Young.

"We're excited this is the last couple of weeks of this campaign and we're hitting it on all fronts,” Lee Sheng stated.

The third candidate is Lee Bonnecarrere. Campaign finance reports show he had $500 in contributions and $142.96 on hand.

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