BY HANNAH LESTER
LEE COUNTY —
Richard LaGrand is running for his second term as Lee County’s District 5 Commissioner.
LaGrand ran four years ago, for his first term, after having wanted to serve his county for over 16 years, he said.
“When the former commissioner [John Andrew Harris] decided that he wanted to run for state representative, I said, ‘well, this is a good time to run,’” LaGrand said.
LaGrand said that his last platform was about improving the quality of citizens’ lives, however that may look, including paving roads and concern about litter in the county.
LaGrand started his term right as tragedy hit the county — the 2019 Beauregard Tornadoes.
While this was one of the biggest challenges of his term, LaGrand said that helping displaced citizens was also one of the most rewarding parts.
Soon after, the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world. And then, Lee County lost its District 2 Commissioner, Johnny Lawrence.
So LaGrand’s term has looked anything but normal, but many of his current concerns echo those he had before his first term, such as continuing to improve the litter situation and paving more roads. During his last campaign, he worked to have the Willis-Turk Road paved. He also worked to complete the Loachapoka Community Park, which will have a sign unveiled on May 7.
Some of the issues he is focusing on for this campaign include broadband access in the county and distributing American Rescue Plan funds.
“To make sure [those funds] are distributed properly in the correct way and make sure we be good stewards of it and put it out there in the community where four years later we can say, ‘hey, we invested it in the right way,’” he said.
Citizens in the county have several concerns of their own, including the potential quarry by Creekwood Resources, LLC, in Beat 13 in Beulah.
“I’m still 200% against the quarry,” he said.
LaGrand said that before he ever became a commissioner, he attended meetings for two years, learning about the process and the county and building relationships.
“I try to make sure that I communicate and then two, I’m a good listener so I like listening to people,” he said.
LaGrand has lived in the county for 40 plus years, attended high school here and said that his job in communications, working in the radio industry, allows him to communicate well with citizens.
He regularly updates citizens on events in the county, such as an event this weekend — A Mother’s Appreciation Brunch on April 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Reach Center (1311 2nd Ave.).
LaGrand said citizens who want to talk with him about the county, or his campaign, can reach out by text 334-275-1875.
“This race is very, very important for Lee County,” he said. “And I want people to vote for me, and I’m not ashamed to ask that they do go out to the polls and vote for me. If not, they can always give me a call and we’ll arrange transportation for them.”
The election for District 5 will be held on May 24. District 5 has one other candidate, John Andrew Harris.