It is easy to get caught up in infrastructure issues and forget the importance of recreation, green space and quality of life programming. As a physician and hospital administrator, I know it is difficult to compete with other cities and recruit a new young physician to this area. I believe each individual area should evaluate their own needs regarding expansion and access. I am fortunate in that my district includes Youngsville and Broussard, both of which have taken the initiative and are growing rapidly because of this. I will work with the new Mayor-President as well as any elected representatives from the affected areas to reduce blight, litter and crime throughout the Parish.
All children deserve a quality education, and this should be the priority of any state or local school board official. It is certainly my priority as a parent. Our state is ranked 48th in education, and Lafayette Parish has many underperforming schools. Quality public education and affordable housing are essential in recruiting and maintaining a skilled workforce. How are you going to do this in a state where about 1/3 do not graduate high school? I am not sure I have a direct answer to that question, but I am eager to help improve this situation.
How will you ensure that public resources are provided equitably and promote opportunity for minorities?
Public resources should be available equally to all regardless of race, income or zip code. I agree there should be equal access to contracting opportunities. I also agree with the coalition out of North Lafayette that “Doing nothing is not an option.” There is an amazing opportunity to redevelop North Lafayette and improve the first impression driving down from I-10. I will work with the new Mayor-President as well as any elected representatives from the affected areas.
What will you do to fund the repair and improvement of roads and other infrastructure in our district and how will you prioritize them?
It is so frustrating to drive more than 5 miles in any direction in this city. The repair and improvement of roads is a high priority to me. Congested traffic and the inability pull into or out of a main road is a major business deterrent. We face an inability to do any repairs or improvement. The parish has an estimated repair backlog of $33 million with a yearly budget of $2.5 million. Furthermore, the parish has no surplus money in its general fund. This is a difficult position for this new council to inherit. I will support the reallocation of funds from other projects then aggressively pursue matching state or federal funds.
What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in our district?
We hear conflicting solutions, each with an associated cost. Voices are amplified because this is election season. My strategy for storm water management is to listen to the experts, study the data and make the best decision I can. The leading solution appears to be improvements and repairs to the Teche-Vermilion Watershed. This is a large area requiring state and federal help as well.