Mayoral Candidate Bio: Mac Watts

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Central, La. – City of Central Mayor Shelton “Mac” Watts has announced he will seek re-election for his post in the March 27 primary election.

      Watts has served as the newly incorporated city’s first mayor since its inception nearly five years ago, including serving for the first 15 months with no pay. Watts has worked with community members and council leaders to develop a 21st century model for how a city should operate.

      “Back in 2005, our community had a vision to create a government that kept more of our tax dollars at home, worked to improve our infrastructure and preserved our way of life while managing growth.  I am proud to say that under my leadership as mayor, we have remained true to that vision without creating a bureaucracy or raising taxes,” Watts said.

      “We have so much to be proud of as a community, but we still have much to do.  That’s why I am asking the voters of Central to support me for another term as mayor so we can continue our progress together,” he said.

      Under Watts’ fiscally conservative leadership, the City of Central has balanced its budget every year, and it has built up nearly $1 million in surplus.  The city contracts most of its city services, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in overhead costs.  In fact, aside from the city’s elected mayor and police chief, it employs only two full-time employees.  This streamlined management allows the City of Central to fully operate without levying property taxes on local homeowners and businesses.

        Watts has spearheaded the development of a community Master Plan to positively manage the city’s growth and preserve the area’s rural lifestyle.  The plan balances Central’s need for better infrastructure and the development of a town center with the desire to retain green space and local farm land, as well as safe neighborhoods and strong schools.  Watts also created the Central Economic Development Foundation to attract new businesses to the area.  Already, the foundation has been instrumental in bringing retail shops, restaurants and branch offices for Ochsner Health Services, Lane Regional Medical Center and Louisiana College to the area.

      He pioneered the creation of Louisiana’s first joint state, parish and municipal agreement to extend the Central Thruway, by four-laning Sullivan Road from Wax Road to Hooper Road, and four-laning Hooper Road from Sullivan Road to Joor Road.

      “We have embraced innovative ways to make our city government more responsive and more affordable for the people we serve.  The City of Central is already considered to be a leader in how to do things the right way,” Watts said.

      Watts has called Central home his whole life.  He and his wife, Loretta, have raised their family, and now enjoy their grandchildren, in this community.  Watts spent 27 years as a teacher and principal at Central High School before retiring and becoming mayor, while his wife and oldest son continue to operate a successful family-owned business.  Their entire family attends Zoar Baptist Church. 

      To forge greater community involvement, Watts established the Mayor’s Ministerial Prayer Alliance of Central to bring community church leaders together each month to share ideas.  He also developed the Mayor’s Youth council to get input from local students and to help nurture their leadership skills, and the Mayor’s 100 Club, which raises money for local moms who send supplies and care packages overseas to U.S. military personnel.

      Watts is a charter member of the Central Rotary Club and Kiwanis Club.  He sits on the Transportation Policy Committee and Capitol Regional Planning Commission, both of which represent a five-parish area.  He also is a board director for the Highland Bank, Cooking in Central organization, and the Scandinavian American Economic Development Alliance, which covers a five-state area.

        Watts earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Southeastern Louisiana University, which he attended on an athletic scholarship to play basketball.  He later returned to the same school for his master’s degree. 


  1. Just Brenda

    February 24, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    2005 plan???? Hmmm I was sold on the 2009 city of central of the hometown “Mayberry” pop 21,000 vision? Small town, COMMUNITY!!! family owned bussiness???? Not raising taxes??? Didn’t we just vote in a tax??? what was that tax for by the way? Why are you building a 85 area middle school at a cost of 55 million dollars??? and we still have our kids spread of in 4 different location???? Why not build behind the new public libary a 4 story 3600 thousand student K-12 complex with is right next to the Gurey Police station. Which runs on 90 percent solar power and 10 percent wind power, which i believe the base mold was brought to your office and was told *^&%%- Why are we hiring people outside our homeroots, that have BS and Master degrees, when we know HOW to build this building???? You want state of the ART- heck just hire the class of 80’s. and 90’s high school kids to design this city- we are pros!!!! and would just love to do it— The one school, located behind the new library could be built EASY!!! heck I bet- One Million in taxes and match by One million in grant money- Why would you build a complex on 85 arecs knowing that – nobody could use it, cause if we did- we would be arrested for trespassing. Would you define what a “pioneered creation of louisiana first joint state, parish and municipal is?” More will come— Keep reading!!!! CC Calling class of 89- slow down goverment spending- leave no debt to our kids!!!! you promised— no big goverment— we believed you!!!! is 7 miles to far to drive in any direction for big goverment!!!! KEEP CENTRAL out of big spending– our grandfathers planted these trees– JUST BRENDA

  2. dave

    February 25, 2010 at 8:40 am

    I am not weighing in with support for any particular candidate, but in the interests of accuracy, let me make a few comments. The tax we passed recently was actually a School Board initiative which is a completely separate entity from the City of Central. Our City Council and our Mayor actually have no more say in such matters than you do, if you voted. The tax was a three-part tax: A 1/2 cent sales tax to build a middle school, a property tax to make non-optional repairs in order to be able to continue using our existing school buildings, and a property tax to build an upper elementary school.

    The school being built on the 85 acres is actually a school complex, not just a middle school. In this first phase it will contain a middle school and an upper elementary school, in the same complex, sharing resources but with the student populations physically separated. The facility also has infrastructre planned and space left available for a lower elemntary school once this is fianancially possible. Indeed this is intended to addreess the fact that our children are separated into schools spread all over Central. Some of these older facilities will remain in use until we are able to build a lower elementary school. This is also some of the reason that funds had to be raised for repairs. We will be using Tanglewood and Bellingrath for some years to come.

    Finally, while I agree that the property behind the Library and Sheriff’s station would have been ideal, it is not owned by the Central Community School District and it is an extremely prime piece of real estate. I do not know for sure what it would cost, but I do know that the School District has legal limits on what it can pay for property. I would imagine those things converged to cause that property to be unavailable for our purposes.

    I hope these explanations have cleared up some things that seem to trouble you. Please feel free to attend City Council and School Board meetings, both held every other week, to help us in making progressive and sound decisions. Public input is requested on every vote taken by the Council and School Board at every meeting.

  3. My Opinion

    February 25, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    WOW!!! It appears that, “Just Brenda” had some misinformed facts on how things are handled here in Central. Maybe she and certain other candidates can review all the information before issuing statements that are misleading and incorrect, which in “My Opinion” holds zero merit. Negative politics get you nowhere. But it seems that some politicians and their supporters thrive on false information. And believe me, when all facts are not given it’s the same as not telling the truth….My Opinion

  4. Just Brenda

    February 26, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Thanks Dave- for explaining- the taxes, since i am new here- and had just a nick of time to research this city before the tax vote i did support, the new schools. Now that you explained that the city of central and the city of central school or two different things, and their is a max the school can pay for real estate, it now pulls it all together. Mr/Ms Opinion seems to be VERY mad, when a person questions things. And to make false claims that I am in some class of other candidates??? Is false!!!- i am simply someone- who believes, one person vote DOES make a difference and you souldn’t make blind votes, learn as much as you can about the people running for office? Ask question you don’t understand, and people like Mr/Ms Opinion should welcome, any and all question- no matter how small they may seem….One thing you did say that is a key note is “HOW THINGS ARE HANDLED HERE IN CENTRAL” Hmmmmmm- I would love to view “ALL THE INFORMATION” however I cannot FIND IT!!!!!- I teach ALL People, to ask question before they just cast a vote. I am new here, lol- sorry mr/ms Opinion- This is my hometown. This Public format of speaking out- is the freedom, our family fought for and in some cases died for, sounds like you got some anger issue. And I find that most interesting. Who I vote for will be base on as much information i can find – in such a short period of time… But dont be SURPRISE if the leader who pulled me to central in the first place, or the same leader that will be thrown my support to finish their vision, in the first place. However I question EVERYTHING!!! and hope to be a helping asset to the city. I hold no signs in my yard as of yet. I am just formimg my true feeling of who will get my support- and too tell you the truth, this public format- changed a vote for me!!!!- All I have are “the people of central” telling me why they are voting for who is who. If freedom of speech bothers you, hmmm will maybe you would be happier in a place where people are “HANDLED” Nice to meet you MR/MS OPINION ~ Just Brenda

  5. NP

    February 26, 2010 at 11:53 am

    It are the incompetent people like Just Brenda that cease to amaze me. I don’t understand why so many people whine and complain about how they do not know what they are voting for, and how they want to be a part of the decisions that are made. There are these things called MEETINGS that you can attend to become educated on such issues. Do the people that care about the city a favor, and get educated on the facts before you start whining again.

  6. dave

    February 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I do appreciate the interest people are showing in the election, especially through the public forum of I would ask one favor: please feel free to use this forum to disagree, persuade, promote your position, etc. That is healthy. Please try to avoid direct negative comments about people who do post here. If a person’s opinion is off-base, it will be seen by others as such. If that infers something about their character, that will show through as well. Remember that after this election is over we will still be neighbors and friends because this truly is a small town. Let’s campaign positively, argue passionately, vote early and often (joke), and then let’s all agree to support whoever is elected, for about 3 years and 10 months, then we can start passionately campaigning again. – Thanks, Dave

  7. My Opinion

    February 26, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Just Brenda -I apologize if my comment came across as anger. It was never the intention. I simply read your post which portrayed displeasure and anger towards the City Administration over items that they have zero control of.

    As you, I am a resident of this city and look to vote for what’s in the best interest of our city. Also I bear the same right to free speech and choose to voice “my opinion” on how information is detailed and reported to the public. I feel that people should review and study all the facts before making misleading and incorrect comments. I appreciate the fact that you are looking for information to help insure that your vote is well educated. Hopefully more people use this forum as a guide to insure the continued betterment of our great city….My Opinion

  8. Kelly

    March 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Just Brenda: Please get FACTS before you start ranting about things. All of those things you mentioned are SCHOOL BOARD matters. The city has nothing to do with those buildings or property. There are so many false rumors that I am hearing around the city with this election right now aimed towards the incumbents. The problem is that the people spreading these rumors don’t have facts. I have heard a few rumors and called the city to ask questions. I was presented with black-and-white FACTS that showed that these rumors that people are spreading are false! I ask everyone else to VERIFY information that you receive before you believe it. It just seems that there are some people who voted AGAINST the central city incorporation who are spreading false rumors around this city about some of the people who have worked hard to get our city going in the right direction. As I have said on some of my previous messages, I have become interested and involved with our city’s future by attending some of these public meetings, and I like the direction that our city is going. People shouldn’t complain and spread misleading information when they haven’t taken the time to involve themselves in the process.

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