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Ascension judge's race heats up with two candidates vying for the spot

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GONZALES- Two women are vying to become Ascension Parish's next judge in a race that could end the career of respected Sheriff Jeff Wiley. 

Kim Landry, a long time lawyer in Gonzales is running against Erin Wiley Lanoux, another longtime lawyer in Gonzales. Lanoux is the daughter of Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley. Wiley said if his daughter is elected, he will retire.

Both women have big plans if they are elected.

Some of the things I'd like to accomplish is working with the juveniles a little more," Landry said. "Getting services and seeing the juveniles more often. They are kids that grow up and become our problems."

"If I'm elected, the first thing I want to do is look into what's working in our probation system," Lanoux said. "This is Ascension Parish court, and it has its own probation system. It's the misdemeanor and traffic court juvenile and civil, but mainly the misdemeanor aspect."

Landry has been practicing law for about 21 years while Lanoux has 15 years of experience. Lanoux said she is fully qualified.

"I am the only candidate from Ascension Parish," Lanoux said. "I know we have a lot of people not from Ascension Parish. We welcome those people and I know them, and they are part of us that's why we are thriving. I want them to know she is not from Ascension Parish. She's only lived in Ascension Parish for 18 months."

Landry disagrees and believes her experience makes her the better-qualified candidate.

"The one thing people in the parish need to know is She doesn't have the qualifications and experience to do this job," Landry said. "Ninety-five percent of what happens int he courtroom is criminal and traffic tickets, and she's never done that."

Lanoux has raised the most money in this campaign and wanted to make it clear that she was born and raised in Ascension. Even though she is the daughter of the well-known sheriff, she said this has not been an easy race.

"I don't think I'm a shoe-in by any means, and that's not the way I've treated this campaign by any means," Lanoux said. "That's not what I'm about. That's not what my family is about. I have a strong work ethic and my qualifications speak for themselves."

Landry said she has maintained a law practice in Gonzales for over 21 years and believes her knowledge of the law will make her the best fit.

"People who know me know that I am a person that holds you to the line," Landry said. "If I tell you to do something I expect you to do it and do it in the time. If not, there are consequences, and people need to understand there are consequences."

Whoever is elected will fill the shoes of outgoing Judge Marilyn Lambert.

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