By Malcolm Butler
Challenger Greg “Big Coach” Williams got a strong showing from precinct 1.01 to help him defeat incumbent Theresa Wyatt for the District 1 seat on the Lincoln Parish Police Jury.
Williams, who barely made his way into the run-off with Wyatt in the October race, rallied from an early deficit following the initial release of the absentee results to defeat Wyatt. Williams garnered 53 percent of the votes to Wyatt’s 47 percent (269-241).
“It was a nail biter,” said Williams. “This is something that I wanted to do and talked to my family about it. I am out of coaching and wanted to make a difference in my community and be involved in the community. The community knows what I’m about and what I stand for. It’s been 40 years and I believe in doing the right thing.
“I’m excited about it. I still have the energy to do things. I am a people person. I am elated right now. I feel good about it.”
The win by Williams means there will be five new representatives on the police jury starting in January.
Diane Richards will be one of the five newcomers after defeating Patsy Candler for the District 11 seat on Saturday. Richards picked up 58 percent of the votes to Candler’s 42 percent (175-126) in a district race that saw the incumbent — Sharyon Mayfield — knocked out in the October vote.
Incumbent Milton Melton will return to the police jury for another term after defeating Gary Wayne Baldwin for the District 10 seat by a 198-177 margin.
Four of the seven races were decided during the October 14 elections when Karen Ludley (District 2), Dan Lord (District 3), Glenn Scriber (District 6), and Joe Henderson (District 9) all won their respective seats. Five of the 12 seats went uncontested this year as TJ Cranford (District 4), Logan Hunt (District 5), Matt Pullin (District 7), Chris “Moose” Garriga (District 8) and Annette Straughter (District 12) went unopposed.
Two of the most highly-publicized issues coming out of 2022 were the controversy in the vote of the contract renewal for the parish’s ambulance-rescue services as well as the soap opera behind the vote to not renew then-parish administrator Doug Postel.
Both subjects drew large crowds from the parish at LPPJ meetings in late 2022 and early 2023, and ultimately plenty of public feedback over the votes.
2024 Lincoln Parish Police Jury
District 1: Greg Williams (1st term)
District 2: Karen Ludley (1st term)
District 3: Dan Lord (1st term)
District 4: TJ Cranford
District 5: Logan Hunt
District 6: Glenn Scriber
District 7: Matt Pullin
District 8: Chris Garriga (1st term)
District 9: Joe Henderson
District 10: Milton Melton
District 11: Diane Richards (1st term)
District 12: Annette Straughter