The Union Parish Voter's League held its 21st Annual Banquet at the Farmerville Recreation Center in Farmerville, Louisiana on Thursday, July 27, 2006. The banquet's theme was: "Citizens moving to a higher plane through Government, Education & Family Life." Mr. William Washington, President of the Voter's League, served as the Master of Ceremonies. After the invocation by Reverend Michael D. Callahan of Blooming Grove Baptist Church (also in Farmerville), those in attendance observed a moment of silence honoring deceased officers and members of the Voter's League. Before dinner was served, Reverend Samuel Ellsworth, of Beulah Baptist Church, gave a stirring a cappella rendition of gospel favorite "Touch Somebody's Life".
After dinner, Ms. Gloria J.P. Crawford introduced the evening's honorees, ten of Union Parish's first black elected public officials. The honorees were:
Mr. Jimmy Kilgore, Union Parish Deputy Sheriff;
Mr. Troy James Fields, Union Parish Deputy Sheriff;
Mr. Lee A. Washington, Chief of Police, Marion, Louisiana;
Mr. Luther Wilson, City Councilman, Bernice, Louisiana;
Mr. Ralph Holley, City Councilman, Marion, Louisiana;
Mr. Arthur C. Hackney, Justice of the Peace, Union Parish;
Mr. Willie Davis, Mayor, Farmerville, Louisiana;
Mr. Leornest Watley, Member, Union Parish Police Jury;
Mr. Robert C. James, Sr., President, Union Parish School Board; and
Mr. Willie T. Sensley, Sr., President, Union Parish Police Jury.
The evening's guest speaker was State Senator James D. Cain, from Louisiana's 30th District. A member of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, Sen. Cain first entered the Louisiana Legislature in 1971 as a member of the House of Representatives for Beauregard, Allen, and Calcasieu parishes. He was the founder and first chairman of both the Rural and Independent Caucuses. A member of the State Senate since 1991, Sen. Cain currently serves as chairman of the Senate Insurance Committee.
Sen. Cain spoke at length about his travels throughout the State of Louisiana. He highlighted the need for strong advocacy on behalf of those in the state who too often feel as though their concerns are neither recognized nor addressed by their elected officials. He cited this as the driving force behind his candidacy for the office of Insurance Commissioner. In closing, Sen. Cain emphasized the need for fairness between and among all those present and all residents of Louisiana.
Banquet honoree and Voter's League Vice President Mr. Willie T. Sensley, Sr. recognized those in attendance who were Parish elected officials and candidates for office in 2006. Ms. Lennie Smith, Secretary, then presented a plaque to Sen. Cain on behalf of the Voter's League.
The banquet concluded with closing remarks by the Master of Ceremonies and a brief benediction by Rev. Callahan. The banquet was catered by CHF Caterers of Farmerville, Louisiana.