Peter Lewis and Keitisha Young might be running against each other to become the next City Council member but they agree on one thing. If elected both candidates would make building a community center a priority in District A. District A is located in northern Covington which is mainly an African-American lower income neighborhood.

Peter Lewis, 41, was born in Covington and graduated from Covington High School. He holds bachelor’s degrees in general management and human resources/business management from Southeastern Louisiana University and owns an insurance agency in Covington.

Lewis, who is endorsed by the St. Tammany Parish Democratic Committee, has been a mentor to local children and has worked with them for years. He wants to change the anger and violence he sees in the community. Just last month two shootings took place in District A by a 19-year-old resident. Bringing a new community center to the area will help with this situation. Youth in District A will have a place to go after school where they can be mentored.

Along with the new community center, Lewis wants to create more classroom space in the overcrowded schools, rennovate housing in the area, add sidewalks and street lamps and improve roadways.

“I see the other areas of Covington making changes, but District A doesn’t because no one is speaking up,” he said.

Keitisha Young was born in Covington and also graduated from Covington High. She studied business at Howard University in Washington, D.C.; working toward a degree at Southern New Hampshire University. She is endorsed by the West St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce’s Political Action Committee and the Alliance for Good Government.

Young agrees with Lewis and says District A needs a new community center for the kids. Right now kids only have the Boys & Girls Club on Columbia Street which charges a fee. They need a free place to go that is a healthy environment.

“You need after-school recreation, studying, tutoring,” she said. “Kids emulate what they see, and the only thing they see is the courthouse and the jailhouse right down the street.”

Slum lords are also an issue Young wants to address.

“We have people paying $500, $600 for rent and they’re living in a house with holes in the floor and it’s infested by rodents. It’s a big problem, and it’s throughout the district. … We need homeownership education in our area. People have to know what their rights are and not be afraid to speak up about the housing they’re living in.”

Landlords need to be held accountable, Young believes there should be stronger home inspections. Residence who pay rent should have a home that is in livable condition.

“Things are getting cleaned up by the city, but it’s not getting done here in our district … The new mayor and council … have a responsibility to one another. We need to talk about all of it and see what we can do.”

The elections will be held on March 30, 2019 and early voting is currently daily through March 23, 2019.

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