The year 2018 has been an election year that featured 5 total candidates running for the office of Sheriff. The election in November trimmed the field down to two candidates, and the run-off on December 8, 2018, was won by Blaise Smith.
On Tuesday, December 18, Blaise Smith was sworn in as St. Mary Parish Sheriff.
The room on the 4th floor of the Courthouse was packed with people and the excitement was evidenced by smiles on the faces of those in attendance. I watched as news media representatives set up cameras and microphones while friends, family, and employees of the Sheriff’s Office waited with anticipation of what the new Sheriff would say as he took the podium and addressed the public for the first time as Sheriff.
Having followed the election closely, there were no surprises. Sheriff Smith spoke of the same themes that ran throughout his campaign; God, the citizens of St. Mary Parish, the mission of the Sheriff’s Office, and working together to make a difference in St. Mary Parish.
As the Public Information Officer watching my first election in the Sheriff’s Office from the inside, I must say that I see one theme emerging from this whole process. It is a theme that I believe seems to be present in other elections at the local, state, and national level when a change in office is the result.
The theme of new beginnings.
Americans generally celebrate elections. We value the opportunity to live in a country where we have the right to be involved in the process of electing our governing officials by voting. Candidates lay out their platforms and appeal to the people for the ability to be able to serve in public office. It can be an arduous process that is stressful, to say the least. But the power of the vote is the final say in the matter, and when the people have spoken, we go forward.
The elected official begins the process of transitioning their platform from ideas to plans. For the citizens, it is time to anticipate new beginnings. It behooves the citizens to be supportive. After all, for elected officials to succeed is to the benefit of all.
This is where we, the citizens of St. Mary Parish, find ourselves now. With a new sheriff, new hope, and anticipation of a new beginning that will result in the fruit of success.
Sheriff Blaise Smith spoke to this process at his ceremony when he said “Whether you voted for me or not, the door is open to you. Even if you didn’t vote for me, I’m still your Sheriff. I appreciate you exercising your right to vote, but I will treat you as if you voted for me.”
I believe these words of encouragement from our new sheriff help to lay out the first part of his plan for St. Mary Parish. These words encourage unity which is of paramount importance to any group of people attempting to accomplish big things in life. The words of positivity and encouragement were sweet to my ears as I watched this important ceremony play out in front of me yesterday.
Maybe even better is the fact that we all as citizens of St. Mary Parish get to play a role in the plans. Together we can work to make our parish better. Together we can support each other as we take our first steps forward from this point.
As for me, I’m looking forward to seeing what the coming weeks and months have for us in St. Mary Parish.
Public Information Officer
St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office