GSU Criminal Justice professor has big plans for Homer

(Left to right) Lenward Seals, Jr., Homer Mayor Xanthe Seals, and Roderick Seals

Grambling State University, “where everybody is somebody.”


In this case, that person is Dr. Xanthe Seals, professor and minister. Seals is the newly-elected mayor in Homer, a historic town about 30 minutes away.  Progressive challenger Seals unseated Roy Lewis, in the Homer mayor election. Seals is the first black sworn in office in 20 years. 


Seals ambitious platform and down home spirit ultimately bested Lewis, one-term who had been in city politics for over ten years.


“I couldn’t wait another four years,” expressed Seals. “We always look at things that need to be done, but I was tired of waiting on improvements I was capable of doing it myself – why not try?”


Seals’s win is a coup for many residents and groups that back him, including Dr. Ellen Smiley, Provost and VP of Academic Affairs. 


“Dr. Seals’ work ethic and character makes her an exemplary person to serve as mayor,” Smiley said. “She has a wealth of ideas as it relates to growing the community.”


Seals combined idealistic proposals to provide new social benefits to struggling city residents with hopes to more effectively execute basic city functions like infrastructure and parish partnerships. 


Her most ambitious proposal is to build more subdivisions and creating big business that can employ more than 200 residents. She also plans to improve Homer’s scenic byway by cleaning up vegetation and abandon homes. 


“I do not want my street to look presentable, and others are not,” Seals said. 


Although the town already has grants in place, economic development needs to be restored. 


“We haven’t capitalized on the plans currently in place,” Seals said in reference to the fact that the town has not rebranded during the technological era compared to surrounding North Louisiana towns. 


In particular, Seals criticized the previous administration for residents relocating to other areas. 


“Many residents commute to Shreveport and other cities, and eventually move due to limited resources in Homer,” Seals told.  “I want to shine a light on positivity in our town.”


Grambling State University has had success throughout North Louisiana. Seals joins a growing number of exceptional, dedicated alumni who have taken power in local government, including Arcadia Mayor Orlandis “Bubba” Millician and Alexandria, Mayor Jeff Hall. 


“I used to tell my students to take the unique advantage of their opportunities at Grambling, you may have to leave your comfort zone,” Seals said. 


In other ways, Seals’ campaign reflected the slow reality that municipalities face as they navigate the demands of residents. To address the town’s infrastructure, she suggests rebuilding the partnership with surrounding towns. Homer holds the parish seat for the state. 


The criminal justice professor since 2016 is also a two-time alumna from Grambling State University. Her love for Grambling began with her father, Lenward Seals, the assistant band director of the World-Famed Tiger Marching Band from 1974 to 2004. Mayor Seals’ brother, Roderick is a mathematics and physics professor at the university.”  


Seals says his sister wanted to stand up for people who voices are not being heard and to make sure that their voice reaches to the appropriate places.


Seals works beside the first elected black police chief, Elvan McDaniel to improve resources and overall community engagement in Homer.