NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - It was a history-making day in Jefferson Parish on Wednesday (Jan 8).
Cynthia Lee Sheng became the first female to ascend to the presidency in the parish of more than 400,000 people.
"I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as parish president for the parish of Jefferson,” said Lee Sheng as she took her oath of office.
Lee Sheng is a mother and widow and the daughter of the late Jefferson Parish Sheriff Harry Lee.
“My late father, Sheriff Harry Lee, and my late husband Stewart Sheng, the gratefulness, even if I would not have won this election, it was a strange thing this past year I felt their presence with me at all times." said Lee Sheng.
Members of the new parish council took their oaths of office as well. Ricky Templet and Scott Walker are the new at-large councilmen.
Lee Sheng believes she will work well with the council.
“We have an incredible council you can see coming on board and everybody just has this feeling of we’re going to get more done on a unified front,” she said.
Also sworn in during the ceremony were coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich, Clerk of Court Jon Gegenheimer and Sheriff Joe Lopinto.
"Using old-fashioned and new-fashion police work in order to solve crime. Solve crime quickly to prevent crime from happening, that's what you see,” said Lopinto.
In her new post at the top of Jefferson Parish government, Lee Sheng has a list of areas to tackle.
"We have a lot of resources going into our landfill, so we’re going to quickly look at that. We’re going to, you know, the census is coming and that’s really on day one we need to get a group together to really strategize about making sure that all the people are counted for the census that’s coming up in a couple of months. The permitting side we want to improve and all kinds of citizen services whether its recreation or senior services,” she said.
Improving the parish's infrastructure is also a priority for the new parish president.
"We’ve put a lot of money into our drainage resources and now I think we have to start paying attention to our other aging infrastructure which is our water and our sewer systems,” Lee Sheng stated.
She is grateful for voters promoting her to the parish presidency and the place they have given her in history.
"The history part of it, that we’re making history today, I really felt it more through other people on the campaign trail and just the look in people’s eyes when they would tell me you have the opportunity to be the first woman parish president in Jefferson Parish, so I think a lot of people feel very proud today and I’m certainly so very grateful for this opportunity,” said Lee Sheng.
She bested former parish president John Young in a fall 2019 election.