The candidates were allowed five minutes to present their opening remarks. From there, they answered randomly selected questions with one minute to respond.

Sheriff candidates Sheriff Bobby Webre and Byron Hill participated in a forum hosted by the Ascension Republican Women on August 15.

Sheriff Bobby Webre has been in office for eight months. His responses fell heavily on the experience he has with the Sheriff's Department. Whereas his opponent Byron Hill, presented arguments from his perspective of "ethical, proactive leadership, and change."

The candidates were allowed five minutes to present their opening remarks. From there, they answered randomly selected questions with one minute to respond. After their three questions each, they had to answer the same two questions with a minute and a half to present their responses.

None of these questions were presented to either candidate prior to the forum. A coin was tossed, and it was decided that Byron Hill would go first throughout the event.

Hill's opening remarks began with a brief description of his experience in law-enforcement. He has served in the National Guard for 20 years and worked at the Sheriff's Office for about 10 years total. During that time he served as a patrol officer and in investigations.

He believes in adding a fresh perspective to the policies currently in place. "There were a lot of things that worked well. But there were a lot of things that do not work so well, and that's what I want to change," Hill said.

One of his biggest concerns was following the policies in place. "In my opinion, there is no need for all the politics. There is a book that guides us, that tells us, 'you do this, this is how we react,'" Hill said.

His focus further emphasized the need for increased manning throughout the sheriff's department, as well as allowing narcotics officers further freedom in order to prevent drugs from effecting the community. And lastly, his opening remarks touched on increasing the quality of life for officers in order to allow for proactive patrol.

Sheriff Bobby Webre countered with his stance on experience.

"You must serve first, and then you may have the opportunity one day, maybe, the opportunity to lead your organization," Webre said.

This statement lead into his description of the gap in years between him and his opponent.

Webre has worked at the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office for 34 years, and prior to that served as a paratrooper in the Army.

He countered Hill's previous statements by explaining that he has hired over 20 patrolmen and dispatchers, brought back the K-9 Division, and offers services to varying members of the community.

"I have the qualifications. I have the experience, and I have the commitment to serve your sheriff's office now and into the future," Webre said.

These opening statements provide insight into the priorities of both candidates. The full forum can be viewed above or visit our Facebook page.