I am Harry Lewis, a candidate for re-election as mayor of Rayville. It would be an honor and privilege to continue to serve you in this position.
Please allow me an opportunity to share a snapshot of my personal, educational and political history. I am married to Marie Harris Lewis. We have a daughter and granddaughter. Rayville is my home and there is no other placer I’d rather live.
I am a graduate of Eula D. Britton High School. I earned degrees from Grambling State University and Northeast Louisiana University (ULM). The latter degree was a Master’s plus 30 hours in Administration and Supervision. I am also a notary public.
My first teaching job was interrupted to serve two years in the United States Army. Afterwards, I was employed by the Richland parish School System as a teacher, coach, principal of Rayville High School.
I served on the Rayville Town Council for 16 years. In 2001, I was elected mayor. I am currently serving in my fourth term. I have had the honor to represent cities, towns and villages as Louisiana Municipal Association’s District C Vice President for four years and on the LMA Executive Board for two years.
I am First Vice President of the LMA. If previous protocol prevails, I will be elected President in the summer of 2018. This organization has 305 members consisting of 127 villages, 111 towns and 65 cities. I have had the opportunity to develop personal and professional friendships with so many people in this organization. We have exchanged ideas, experiences and valuable information that has benefited our town.
I am extremely proud of the town’s growth and progress under my leadership. Over the past two years, five or more businesses have located here, including the Tractor Supply Store now under construction, and the construction of a convenience store is pending. There has been a spike in small businesses interested in our town.
In an effort to beautify our town, we have added the Zeke Ramsey Courtyard, a new marquee at the civic center, two water fountains, lights added to the old railroad and improvements at the Eugene Center. We have received monies to make more improvements at the Civic Center and gazebo. These projects were at no cost to the citizens.
It is paramount that we support our law enforcement and fire department. We have allocated money in our budget so that our citizens, their families and visitors can be protected.
We will demolish dilapidated houses and buildings that are eyesores, but most importantly, serve as breeding grounds for rodents and illegal activities.
Furthermore, we will continue to partner with our school system.
We realize the important role schools play in preparing students for the world of work. Education is one of the keys to the success of our town.
During the next four years, improving our infrastructure is my #1 priority. Industries and businesses don’t ask about recreational opportunities (they are important), they inquire about the infrastructure and quality of schools. So, we will continue to work diligently to improve our water and sewage systems, as well as our streets.
We have replaced pumps at our water wells, bought and added generators to the water plant, upgraded the chorine system and prepared all the water wells so mobile generators can be used in the event of an electrical outage. We are in the process of replacing softeners to improve the appearance and quality of the water. Improving the water quality is a challenging, ongoing process.
I deliberately delayed the paving of streets to accommodate replacing old pipes underneath the streets’ surfaces. Now that this project is completed, we will address repaving the worst streets, beginning with Julia and Louisa Streets. Work is scheduled to begin June, 2018.
There are several projects in Capital Outlay that are on hold because of the State budget shortfall. The projects include replacing a water storage tank ($530,000), water and sewage to Franklin Farm, a park next to Walmart and Phase 3 of the Water Improvement Program. Hopefully, these projects will be funded soon.
Even though improvements have been made to the “Rec”, we will discuss ways to improve our recreational program and how to make it more inclusive to the community.
Another goal is to extend the city limits south and west through annexation. This will make commercial property available for future economic growth.
I am always open to listen to ideas and suggestions that will improve the quality of life for all citizens of Rayville.
Finally, without hesitation, I accept God as Lord and Savior. I am an active member of Mt. Zion B.C., where I serve as a deacon and teacher of the Men’s Sunday School Class. When the opportunity arises, I support other churches in our community. My prayers always include that God will bless our Town and our Country.
I humbly ask for your support and prayers. Please Vote #8 in March 24, 2018!! Thank you!