Carlee Alm-LaBar, former planning director, announces bid for mayor-president

Photo by Travis Gauthier

The gist: Last Friday, the Fix the Charter head and LCG vet officially launched a challenge to her former boss.

Both Robideaux and Alm-LaBar are claiming the straight-talk mantle. Mayor-President Joel Robideaux said in his annual Robideaux Report address on Thursday that it was time for “raw, honest conversation.” Alm-LaBar, speaking to supporters at an announcement event in Downtown Lafayette, said her campaign needs to be about “tough conversations.”

What are these tough conversation they’re talking about? There’s a sense that Lafayette is at something of an inflection point. Alm-LaBar directly referenced the economic shifts in the oil and gas industry. Robideaux warned that Lafayette, and its government, needs to embrace emerging technology and evolve to avoid being left in the “digital rust belt.”

Alm-LaBar served as Robideaux’s planning director. She was among a few holdovers from the Durel administration, holding the post of chief development officer in Durel’s final year, until Robideaux eliminated the position. She left LCG in mid-2018 to take a job with Southern Lifestyle Development. Under Durel, she spearheaded PlanLafayette and co-founded Project Front Yard. Last year, she led Fix the Charter PAC, the political organization that campaigned to pass amendments to create separate city and parish councils.

Disclosure: Carlee Alm-LaBar contributed some seed money to The Current last year.

What to watch for: How the platforms evolve and what contrasts emerge. So far, we’ve only had hints of what the planks may be. For instance, Alm-LaBar staked a position on drainage that argues for a vision bigger than the mayor-president’s drainage maintenance program. How to pay for infrastructure needs are perennial concerns in mayor-presidential (mayoral-presidential?) campaigns. Given headlines over the last 18 months, topics like LUS, economic diversification and the charter amendments could figure prominently.