The first of two days of political forums put on by the Greater Iberia Chamber of Commerce took place Tuesday, with judge candidates for Division F and Division H making their case for why they should be elected.
In Division H, candidates Roger Hamilton, Thailund Porter-Green and Alicia Butler were all present to make their cases for the job.
Hamilton, a prosecutor and former law clerk for former Judge Paul De Mahy, has worked as a district attorney and professor. Hamilton said he has worked in the local community with the 4-H Foundation as well as a volunteer coach helping the youth.
“I am running as the next judge because I feel I would be a fair and independent judge who could focus on cases without worrying about outside distractions,” Hamilton said. “A judge should be independent from partisan politics, I would also be accessible to the community.”
Porter-Green has also worked in the 16th Judicial District as a staff attorney and attorney consulting with the court improvement program, working hand-in-hand with stakeholders in the child welfare system, she said.
Porter-Green said she would be a trusted judge who is sensitive to the needs of the community.
“There is distrust that the community has for the justice system,” she said. “It’s something I’m mindful of as a member of the community and an attorney in that system.”
Butler, a former federal corrections officer and special education teacher, has experience as a law clerk and in private practice as a lawyer. Butler also said she is heavily involved in volunteer work around the community as well.
“I am asking for your support in vying for this position because I know I can do a good job, the best job,” she said.
In Division F, candidates Anthony Saleme, Keith Thibodeaux and Natalie Broussard also gave pitches for their candidacy.
Each candidate seemed to represent a different parish within the 16th, with Saleme primarily focused in St. Mary Parish, Thibodeaux in St. Martin Parish and Broussard in Iberia Parish.
Saleme, a member of the Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus and National Rifle Association among other groups, said the 16th JDC needs a judge who will advocate for and protect the business community within the Teche Area.
“I will make sure businesses are treated fairly in court and restitutions are ordered,” he said.
Thibodeaux, who has more than 30 years of experience in the legal community, said his breadth of knowledge is what distinguished him from his opponents.
“For the past 30 years, I’ve helped clients in thousands of cases across all areas of the law,” Thibodeaux said.
Broussard, who is a member of the Iberia Parish Council, said that she would be a fair judge who would not let politics enter into the courtroom.
“People want a judge that’s independent,” Broussard said. “They want someone who doesn’t have political pressures when making decisions.”