Rochon in, Shelvin unconfirmed for debate

by Leslie Turk

Lloyd Rochon says he's looking forward to tonight's discussion about how to improve his district. But will he be the only District 3 candidate doing the talking?

Lloyd Rochon, Carencro's city manager and District 3 City-Parish Councilman Brandon Shelvin's challenger in the Oct. 22 election, will attend tonight's debate at Acadiana Open Channel. Debate organizers were still awaiting word from Shelvin at noon today.

"Our scheduling spreadsheet indicates that Mr. Shelvin would call back, but based on the spreadsheet, we have not gotten a confirmation," says Robert J. Wilson, producer of Acadiana Debates, a series of discussions that launched Tuesday and is sponsored by the Acadiana Progressive group and the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee.

"I look forward to it," Rochon says. "I really hope Brandon shows up so we can have a good discussion about what we can do to upgrade District 3." Both Rochon and Shelvin are Dems.

Should he decide the skip the debate, Shelvin would not be the lone incumbent to do so. On Wednesday, state Sen. Elbert Guillory, who represents District 24, did not attend, saying he had a previously scheduled fundraiser. Guillory is being challenged by Opelousas Mayor Donald Cravins, who previously held the District 24 seat, and Kelly Scott, both of whom were in attendance.

District 44 state Rep. Rickey Hardy also did not participate in Tuesday's forum. Hardy's challengers, Vincent Pierre and Roshell Jones, attended. All three are Democrats.

Lafayette City-Parich Council District 1 candidates Kevin Naquin, a Democrat from Duson, and Jay Caldwell, an independent from Scott, have confirmed their attendance for Thursday's debate. District 1 councilman Purvis Morrison's wife, Mary, who filled the remainder of his term when he was elected mayor of Scott, is by law not allowed to seek the seat.

The debates begin airing at 7 p.m. on LUS Fiber Channel 4 and on Cox Channel 16. The final installment is Sept. 22 and is slated to feature candidates for city-parish president. Republican City-Parish President Joey Durel's challenger, Democrat Mike Stagg, is confirmed, and organizers are awaiting word from Durel.

"The second segment will be a wrap-up conversation featuring various members of our production team and at least one representative of Acadiana Progressive," Wilson says. "While individuals may voice their endorsements on behalf of their own organization, it is Acadiana Progressive's policy not to issue endorsements for any one candidate."

That discussion will conclude the series.