ST. TAMMANY, La. - The ads are airing, pamphlets being passed out and the four announced candidates have already qualified for the St. Tammany coroner's race.
Candidate Dr. Adrian Talbot, a Slidell physician, said, "You've got very talented, very qualified folks who are working there now, but there needs to be a leader who can provide the vision, the information they need, and who can provide them with the resources that they need to do the job."
"I have over 45 years of experience in training, I've been in the world of forensics and emergency management and pretty well known in this area for that," said candidate Dr. Robert Muller, a Slidell gynecologist, "As well as my involvement in law enforcement agencies from a state, local and federal level."
Candidate Dr. Charles Preston, an emergency medicine physician in Slidell, said, "I've had training with forensic collection of evidence and I've worked closely with law enforcement. I've done almost 100 sexual assault exams, people who are acutely psychiatrically ill do not end up in a psychiatrist's office, they end up in an emergency room."
"The new chapter begins and I intend on writing that chapter with a steady hand, professionalism, and respect for our constituents," said Dr. Leanne Truehart, a Mandeville psychiatrist, and current Mental Health Director at the Coroner's Office.
The April 5 special election is scheduled to fill the remainder of Dr. Peter Galvan's term. He was sentenced on corruption charges Wednesday. Galvan was given two years in federal prison, along with a restitution of at least $200,000 to the office.
The candidates all agree that's now in the past.
Truehart said, "It's appropriate that Peter Galvan was sentenced on the first day of qualifying. Justice has prevailed and the citizens have been served."
"That process was a legal process and it took its due course and we have to live by that and maybe it will be a lesson for all of us to learn," said Muller.
Talbot said, "It marked an end to a very sad chapter in our parish and I'm praying for our parish and I'm also praying for Dr. Galvan."
Preston said, "It's important that we get closure and we move forward and that this is now an opportunity to put that behind us and concentrate on what we're running for."
The next month and a half will be full of these candidates convincing voters they should be the office's future. Preston said his medical experience is coupled with administrative experience as Chief of Medicine at Slidell Memorial, at one time, and running his own clinic, which he says has operated efficiently and with the least cost as possible.
"I'm always driven to serve," said Talbot, "And now it's official to have my name on the ballot so the citizens of st. Tammany can hopefully consider me and hopefully chose me as their next coroner."
"I'm dedicated to bringing transparency, accountability, and professionalism to the coroner's office," said Truehart, "I look forward to serving the families of victims of crime, those struggling with mental illness, their families and the taxpayers."
Muller said his experience "sets me apart from some of the other candidates that don't have that type of experience."
A candidate forum is scheduled Monday night at 6:30 p.m. at the John Davis Center on 12th Street in Lacombe.
If you'd like to learn more about the candidates, each have websites listed below: