Monday was the start of a three-day political forum covering all Iberia Parish political races for October’s elections, with candidates for the New Iberia City Marshal, Iberia Parish Clerk of Court and Iberia Parish President speaking in front of a packed crowd at the Sliman Theatre for the Performing Arts.

“We are highlighting most of the races in Iberia Parish,” CEO and president of Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce Janet Faulk-Gonzales said. The Chamber is sponsoring the event.

The open forum, Faulk-Gonzales said, is an opportunity for the residents of New Iberia to come in and hear what each candidate can bring to their position if elected.

“We think that it’s really important,” she said.

Though Faulk-Gonzales and the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce don’t endorse any of the candidates, Faulk-Gonzales said the forums are put on by them just to get the information out.

“One of the things we hope is that everyone will come out with a better understanding on the candidates’ skills and aptitudes for their positions,” Faulk-Gonzales said.

The first segment of Monday’s forum saw New Iberia City Marshal candidates Brett Lang, Mike “Bomba” Lopez, Toney Migues and Greg Pete each express their desires to help out the city of New Iberia.

Following their forum, David Ditch and Ryan Huval were next for the Iberia Parish Clerk of Court.

Ditch, who said he grew up watching his father work 17-18 hour workdays, said his experience is one of the main factors for running for the position.

“I want to be your servant leader,” he told the crowd at the Sliman Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Huval, who also has over 16 years of work experience himself, said working in the Iberia Parish Clerk of Court’s office helped him learn what the job entails.

“I sat in every chair and learned every job there is for the Iberia Parish Clerk of Court,” Huval said.

And for the last forum, candidates for the Iberia Parish President spoke on what serving the Iberia Parish community means to them.

Current Iberia Parish President Larry Richard and Joel Dugas each had the opportunity to express their interest in the position.

Dugas, who grew up in and currently lives in Loreauville with his wife and five children, said Iberia Parish means a great deal to him.

“I’m deeply invested in Iberia Parish and the community,” Dugas said.

Like Dugas, Richard said the parish is very important to him and he wants to do all he can to help it out.

The final day to register to vote in the October election is Sept. 11.

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