CLINTON, LA (WAFB) - It is a crowded race for sheriff in East Feliciana Parish.
Four of the five candidates spoke to voters Thursday at the Clinton United Methodist Church.
The incumbent, Sheriff Talmadge Bunch, spoke first. He was first elected in 2000.
"I've done everything I could to help the parish," said Sheriff Bunch. "I made a promise to the people I would never ask them for a tax when I first ran, and I never will."
Clinton Police Chief Fred Dunn followed the sheriff. He wants to double the amount of deputies working shifts.
"We are currently running off of two. We need four," said Chief Dunn. "You can't patrol 451 square miles with just two. No disrespect. I'm just stating the obvious."
Sheriff Bunch said the biggest issue facing the parish is drugs.
It's a problem candidate Richard Sobers is familiar with. He's a retired Baton Rouge Police officer who now wants to create stronger law enforcement in East Feliciana.
"I'll work to build a training facility here including a firing range," said Sobers. "I will stride to establish a women's jail facility here and provide parish commissions to as many town deputies as possible."
Of all the candidates, perhaps none have the degree of administrative experience as Jeff Travis. He is the state's former Chief of Operations at the Department of Corrections, overseeing thousands of workers.
"I believe I bring the administrative experience to the table. But more importantly, I have the ability to network and create relationships with sheriffs across the state," said Travis.
Troy Abshire was the only sheriff's candidate absent from Thursday's forum.
The two candidates running for clerk of court also spoke.
Another East Feliciana candidate forum will happen at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 13 at the Jackson Civic Center.
Early voting begins Saturday, October 10. Election Day is October 24.