St. Martin Parish councilman Jason Willis has a new job.

St. Martinville voters elected him to be their new mayor, ousting the incumbent Melinda Mitchell in Saturday's general election. Willis won by taking 58 percent of the vote.

Willis is a Navy veteran and the owner of a local business. He has served on the St. Martin Parish Council for the last 12 years.

Tonight's vote brings to an end a tumultuous four-year term for Mitchell. Her time in office was highlighted by constant battles with the city council, including an attempt by the council to make the mayor's position a part-time job. The council challenged Mitchell's veto of that ordinance in court. An appeals court ruled in March that the city's charter gives the mayor veto power and, as a result, Mitchell's veto of the ordinance was legal.

Mitchell's husband also made headlines during her term. In 2019, Mayor Mitchell's husband had a city worker arrested for moving his illegally parked truck. A judge later dismissed that case. Two years later, Mitchell's husband was arrested after violating a protective order filed against him by city councilman Craig Prosper.

Mayor-elect Willis says he's ready to make his city a better place to live and do business.

"I want to bring positive solutions, fresh ideas and work cooperatively with the council and citizens to achieve progress for a community I have always loved," Willis wrote on his campaign website. "Together with law enforcement and community leaders, I want to make our streets, neighborhood and homes safe again. I am a man of integrity, fairness, honesty and good work ethics. I vow to serve St. Martinville with great pride and dignity. I have always treated people the way I would like to be treated, which is fair and respectable."

St. Martinville voters also elected two new council members.

Janise Anthony will represent District 4 on the council. Anthony beat James Charles by only two votes, 219 to 217. Anthony will succeed Juma Johnson in the District 4 chair.

Florita Chatman will serve as District 5's representative. Chatman defeated Leander Williams by a 56-44 margin. Chatman will succeed Edmond Joseph in that position.

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