Cook announces run for parish president

Published 2:03 pm Monday, November 14, 2022

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Submitted by the candidate

I, Sarah Cook, a lifelong resident of Washington Parish, officially announce my candidacy for Parish President in the October 2023 election. I have a sincere and dedicated commitment to the betterment of my home parish. I enjoy the sense of community, as well as respect the beauty and rural setting which Washington Parish offers. It is my personal goal to work toward giving back to my parish in the most effective way possible. I am confident I have the necessary qualifications to successfully serve as your elected 2023 Washington Parish President.

My Background, Qualifications, and Experience

I have resided in Washington Parish all my life. I have three beautiful daughters, Emily, Haley, and Lindsey, and three wonderful grandchildren. I am a graduate of Franklinton High School and Louisiana Technical College in Bogalusa.

I have consistently held a prominent leadership role in my community by participating in countless activities. These include the revitalization of the Franklinton Chamber of Commerce and the Republican Women of Franklinton. I currently serve as an elected member on the Washington Parish Republican Parish Executive Committee. I served the Franklinton Softball Association for sixteen years as well as organized many successful fundraising events for the benefit of Washington Parish citizens.

As Manager of the Public Works Department for the Town of Franklinton, I learned employee management and began to build relationships with local and legislative officials. During these five years, I assisted twenty-six employees with roads, natural gas, water, sewer and sidewalks. I was certified in natural gas training which enabled me to educate and certify Public Works employees to ensure compliance with the State of Louisiana.

While my current official job title is Clerk to the seven Washington Parish Council members, the scope of my work is much more than acting as a secretary. Twice monthly, I compose Council meeting agendas, minutes, resolutions, and ordinances for the current parish councilmen and councilwoman. I am Clerk to the Planning Commission and also Clerk for seven Council committees: Roads, Finance, Recreation, Health Unit, Solid Waste, Personnel and Infrastructure. I was the lead person creating the foundation for the bridge and alcohol regulations to ensure parish compliance. As the main contact person between the public and the Council, I listen to the needs of the citizens, and convey their requests to their District Council representative.  My experience and knowledge of the Washington Parish Home Rule Charter and other parish regulations to provide the best results for the Council and their constituents. Another part of my job includes keeping up with appointments to approximately twenty-three boards and commissions under the Parish Council’s appointment jurisdiction. One of my most valuable accomplishments has been the creation of a shareable Excel file format specific for parish needs. By digitizing vital records such as minutes, resolutions and ordinances, this file system allows for copying and scanning of data from 1998 to present. Historical information is now readily accessible to government employees and the public.

I have been recognized by the Police Jury Association for outstanding work as Council Clerk. This experience has and still continues to provide valuable insight. My strong background and knowledge of the Washington Parish Development Ordinance has enabled me to suggest improvements for various areas of the parish. I firmly believe in making strategic choices pertaining to hiring practices based on qualifications, solid employment backgrounds, and character.

I treasure the small town, rural community values, and close-knit personal connections in Washington Parish. Working closely with the public and raising my family here has made me acutely aware that we must broaden our vision for economic growth. In order to appeal to our younger citizens, we must develop a stronger focus on expanding educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities. Whereas we will need to focus on creating a more secure, caring environment to stay in touch with the needs of our older population.

Washington Parish has long been viewed as “rural and poor” by those in state and national positions. My career achievements have positioned me to move the parish forward. The current Parish President’s most notable achievement was being able to resolve parish debt with the aid of a private CPA firm. Financially poised to assist citizens, I will make sure funds continue to be allocated for the future improvement of roads. I have learned first-hand how to positively respond to natural parish disasters from his administration and have realized the necessity and value in maintaining government physical plants. We have the opportunity to become a new force on the Northshore. This can be done by maintaining and improving our standards while still protecting our environment. With the most efficient use of our tax dollars and by accessing new grant funds, our parish will be able to move beyond “rural and poor.”

I will continue to provide honest, effective, efficient and respectful public service. As Parish President, your voice will be heard as we work together to reform and revitalize Washington Parish in a transparent manner to grow a better future for all of us. My proven record of initiative, leadership, cooperation, organizational skills and commitment will enable me to serve Washington Parish well. Professional. Proven. Prepared.

I ask that you vote Sarah Cook for Parish President on October 14, 2023, for reliable results and accountability.

Your support of my candidacy through endorsement, volunteer effort or financial support is greatly appreciated. Sarah Cook Campaign Fund, PO Box 225, Franklinton, LA 70438.