EAST FELICIANA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - For the first time in more than 40 years, voters in East Feliciana Parish chose a newcomer over a sitting sheriff. Jeff Travis beat Sheriff Talmadge Bunch and three other contenders.
"It's reflective that people want a change. That comes with great responsibility," Travis acknowledged.
The East Feliciana Parish Sheriff-elect said while his long days of campaigning are over, he still has not been able to get much sleep. His phone has been ringing nonstop with congratulations, and he said there is a lot of work to do.
"I think we do need more deputies on the road, and we are going to work hard to reorganize the sheriff's office so that we can get more services out in the front where the water hits the wheel for the citizens," Travis said.
The former Chief of Operations for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections retired after 25 years to run for sheriff. Travis said he has the leadership experience he believes East Feliciana needs to enhance safety and services to the public. The sheriff-elect said he also wants to improve conditions inside the parish prison and help inmates get job skills while they are there.
"We have to identify the things people need and make sure while we have them captive we give them the services, the opportunities to receive the things they need. It's the only way I know how to protect the public from those committing crime, to be a part of their rehabilitation," Travis said.
But his wish list is not without challenges. East Feliciana collects the lowest property tax in the state. Money is tight at the sheriff's office. Travis said it is why he is putting together a transition team to work with Sheriff Bunch before lining up his priorities.
"I want to serve the citizens of East Feliciana and make them proud," Travis said.
Travis takes office on July 1, 2016.
Sheriff Bunch released the following statement: