Community Agenda: Election 2019

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Community Agenda: Election 2019

You asked. We listened. They answered.

We asked what you wanted to hear candidates for council and mayor-president talk about. Here are their responses.

Mayor-President

Candidates

  • Carlee Alm-LaBar
  • Carlos Harvin
  • Josh Guillory
    ✅ Winner
  • Nancy Marcotte
  • Simone Champagne

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you provide better transparency, accountability and efficacy in consolidated government generally and manage the politics of government by two councils?

I will implement the Louisiana checkbook so that citizens are able to see where their tax dollars are being spent. I will work hard to make sure that the two councils meet at least once a month in a joint session. I will attend council meetings in Scott, Duson, Carencro, Broussard, and Youngsville. I will work with our media partners to keep citizens informed about government activities in the parish and city. I will ensure a cohesive government that responds to the needs of the people.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

I am committed to increasing transparency, communication, and accountability. Some methods to achieve transparency and increase communication include appearing weekly on radio stations such as KPEL to field questions from our neighbors within the city/parish, having our Public Works department publish what was accomplished each working day, opening my office to the public at least once a month (whether that is at Lafayette Consolidated Government or a variety of locations within the parish), using technology (such as apps for smart devices) to more easily access services and check on the status of pending services, and implementing a culture within LCG that is inviting for residents and businesses to interact with.

Also, I am ready to lead both the City and Parish Councils into the future. It is not the government I voted for (two councils with one Mayor-President), but it is the government we have, and we will make it work. The best way for this transition to occur is by having absolute and complete transparency at all levels of our local government. “The left hand must know what the right hand is doing.” Under my administration, we will not have more questions than answers. The residents of Lafayette Parish will know what is going on in their government, and I would be honored to serve as the next Lafayette Mayor-President.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

Providing transparency is ultimately the only way for an administration to secure the necessary buy-in from the public and the council in order to move forward on key initiatives. That is largely a function of communication. The same goes with the two new councils. In my time at LCG, I developed a reputation for being able to maneuver the politics of the council. There is no magic bullet to accomplish this task—it’s as simple as making sure that each council member has been provided with all of the information they need to make a decision, in plenty of time in advance for them to review the information and have their questions answered, so that they can make the most informed decision possible. I will continue to make myself and my administration available to the council on their time frame and on their availability. For the public, I will build a leadership team that is committed to responsiveness, communication, and transparency at all levels of government. I will provide an open data portal for LCG’s budget (often called “Open Checkbook”) and improve the public’s access to government data and information across the board.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

Simone Champagne never responded.


How will you increase patrols in neighborhoods that suffer high concentrations of violent crime and drug activity?

I think the key issue is bringing economic growth to high crime areas. People who have steady work and opportunity are less likely to commit crimes. We need to reduce crime by providing economic opportunity.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

In conjunction with our Police Chief, we will increase patrols in high crime areas during high crime times. Crime cannot be adequately addressed by only increasing patrols. I invite everyone to visit my website at votejoshguillory.com and examine my four-point plan in combating crime. This plan was introduced early in my campaign after consulting with our Chiefs of Police within the parish, patrol officers, our local police association, and members of our community. This plan is not written in concrete, but it is a good start to proactively addressing crime in our community. Notice that the first point is increasing pay for our officers. We have the funding within our local budget to increase pay for our officers. The key is cutting spending and not raising taxes.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

Increasing patrols is just one potential solution in a myriad of potential solutions for violent crime and drug activity. Neighborhoods often have the best read on the problems they face day after day. Having a competitively paid police force helps ensure that well-trained, experienced officers stay on the job, rather than leave for other opportunities. And we need to rely on data—testing out whether new techniques or approaches are working. In some cases, that may mean the best approach is increasing patrols. But in other cases, it may mean focusing on a physical design characteristic of the neighborhood—for example, making sure street lights work or that public spaces don’t have obstructed views in which crime can occur.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

Simone Champagne never responded.


How will you provide access to more transportation options such as bike and pedestrian infrastructure and public transit?

We need to improve our roads. Lafayette does not need additional bike lines. The high was over 90 degrees Fahrenheit today—I don’t see pedestrian transportation as being practical.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

I believe roads should be used for vehicles, and Lafayette has a severe traffic problem. I will focus heavily on increasing the efficiency of traffic for automobiles. Our infrastructure is not designed for additional bike lanes. The downtown area and within the campus of UL may be exceptions. Other than these two areas, I believe the private sector will dictate to developers in individual developments any need for such additional bike/pedestrian transportation options.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

The key to strong public transit is maximizing its usability. I will lead an effort to increase ridership on the transit system by improving routes and being more customer-focused. The easiest time to include bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure is at the onset of new infrastructure projects—not retrofitting. We adopted a complete streets at LCG that calls for the inclusion of these types of infrastructure when planning new projects. The best approach after the fact involves being targeted and strategic. The sidewalks downtown are a good example—we need to focus on those areas where demand is highest and where the necessary repairs are most feasible.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Simone Champagne never responded.


How will you address costly land use development patterns that have made our community more vulnerable to environmental and economic disaster?

I fully support individual liberties, property rights, and repealing burdensome regulations and codes that are driving away jobs.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

In any development, we must take into consideration the short-term and long-term impact a project will have on drainage, roads, the environment, traffic, and other areas that can affect our community. My administration will strive to approve developments that meet the needs of our current residents without compromising the ability of future residents to meet their developmental needs.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

In 2014, the community recognized in the comprehensive plan that development pressures were focusing where land was cheapest and most available—which is often where land is lowest and more prone to flooding. Many of these patterns bore out, unfortunately, in 2016. Recognizing these pressures, in the Unified Development Code (often called the UDC), the council provided additional subdivision and zoning rules to make it easier for developers to take on infill projects—where the infrastructure is already in place and adequate. The UDC also strengthened drainage requirements for new developments. This is a start.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Simone Champagne never responded.


How will you use your position of influence to improve our schools?

Lafayette has suffered from a failure of leadership in our schools. We need less of a top down approach and instead return to having principals and teachers making decisions in the classroom. We need less central office involvement and definitely less state involvement. We need to drive parent engagement and we need to empower teachers to enforce discipline standards in the classroom. We need to get back in the practice of letting teachers teach.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

While education may not be a direct function of the office I am seeking, I see the value of increasing the partnership across entities within our parish, such as the school board. Having a well-educated workforce and community will help sustain long-term economic growth and improve quality of life for our citizens. I will use my position as Mayor-President to advocate for more independent school boards within our parish. Zachary, LA is a great example of how an independent school district within a parish can maximize results for its students. I strongly believe that the more local a government body is, the more efficient, accountable, and productive that governmental body can be.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

As a former teacher, I recognize the importance of community leaders (and specifically the Mayor-President) who are willing to advocate for the school system. One of the first things I did when I began campaigning full time was to request a meeting with our interim superintendent, Irma Trosclair. In that meeting, I committed that as the Mayor-President, I would support her efforts to improve our school system. Our school system is building the next generation of our community’s workforce. While the Mayor-President does not have direct authority over our school system, the Mayor-President can work with the school system on shared community goals and priorities.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

Simone Champagne never responded.


How will you improve the quality of life for our community’s most disadvantaged, provide good housing and address widespread blight, litter and vacancy on Lafayette’s Northside?

We have to take advantage of the opportunity zones that were part of President Trump’s tax cuts. We need to encourage community engagement involvement. Every week, my husband and I spend our Sunday mornings picking up litter around our neighborhood. Since we started, the amount of litter has dropped tremendously. We have to encourage people to take pride in their neighborhoods. Lafayette used to get awards for being a clean city. I want to get Lafayette back to being clean enough to receive awards.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

As it relates to blighted property, I will partner with our District Attorney’s office and our judiciary to enforce our blighted property laws and ensure that we are addressing this issue in the most efficient way possible.

Litter as a whole, whether it’s in the north side or anywhere else in our city/parish, falls within my priorities because eradicating litter will help drive in commerce and help with drainage. My administration will work vigorously after festivals, downtown alive, and throughout the year to proactively clean litter throughout the city and parish. Some approaches include taking measures to catch the litter before it goes into storm drains, finding ways to collect litter at the end of coulees before it enters the Vermilion River, and working with the Sheriff and other municipalities to employ community-service based programs to pick up litter.

My approach to the disadvantaged in our city and parish is to work with faith-based organizations, to include Catholic Services, to find ways that we can best incentivize employment, address the homeless issue within the city, and create jobs so that every individual who wants to work can do so. I do not support additional programs at this time, and I do not support increasing taxes to address these issues. We can best address this issue with a partnership between government, the private sector, and faith-based organizations.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

Throughout my career, I have worked on addressing many of these issues and will continue to do so as Mayor-President. Quality of life begins with feeling safe in our homes. Blight can be addressed through more integrated code enforcement across departments so that problem properties can be addressed in a more efficient manner. Vacancies will have to be addressed through both strategic and targeted efforts, including partnering with the Lafayette Economic Development Authority (LEDA). In the next few weeks, there will be a launch of a parishwide beautification effort, and we need to leverage that effort to make meaningful strides in the appearance of our parish. In addition to the overall marketing effort that will launch, we need to target key areas for improvement, including our gateway corridors, to ensure that those areas reflect the warm welcome we want to give as people come into our community.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

Simone Champagne never responded.


What changes to the parish budget and tax structure will you consider to stabilize finances, meet state mandated expenses and invest in parish infrastructure?

Prior to addressing anything with regard to the structures of the city or parish budgets, we have to address the transparency issue. The people of Lafayette no longer trust that their government is wisely spending the money allocated to them. I will implement the Louisiana Checkbook so that taxpayers can see where their tax dollars are being spent.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

My administration will examine every department’s budget throughout each fiscal year. Any overages will be brought to the attention of the Councils, and I will lead in efforts to rededicate surplus money to priorities such as drainage, roads and traffic, and public safety. These initiatives are the pillars of government. If we can achieve these goals, everything else will fall into place.

One example of budget cuts will be to stop contracting out so much legal expenses. I would like dedicated staff attorneys that can handle a majority of (if not all) legal work for LCG. Dedicated staff attorneys that are accounted for in the budget is far more cost effective to taxpayers than contracted attorneys who can bill by the hour. Just from November 2018 through August 2019, we have spent over $2.5 million on outsourced legal fees. How much of this money could be used to give our brave law enforcement officers a much needed pay raise or add fire protection in our unincorporated areas? Another example is placing new hired employees in the PERS retirement system as opposed to MERS. Doing so would save our budget millions just in a few years. I want to emphasize that this change will be only for new hires only. These two examples coupled with reexamining each department’s budget throughout the fiscal year are just a few examples. The bottom line is that LCG’s budget is anywhere from $600 million to $700 million. We have the money to focus on our priorities. We do not need to raise taxes to meet our priorities. If we fall short financially on issues such as drainage or major road projects, we should expect help from our Legislators in Baton Rouge and our Louisiana Delegation in Washington.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

The parish budget is not just broke—it’s broken. One of the reasons I pushed for the charter amendments and for separate parish and city councils is because consolidation has not worked out well for either the city or the parish because the underlying budget issues that led to consolidation in the first place—a dwindling tax base in the parish faced with growing demands—have never been addressed.

We have to be blunt with taxpayers. The parish is broke. Out of a $12.9 million parish general fund this year, the fund balance is budgeted at $99,000. That’s less than 1% fund balance. By comparison, the city’s general fund fund balance is almost $39 million—or about 37% of expenditures. In government accounting, a fund balance of 20% of expenditures is considered a baseline minimum. The parish is broke.

But we got here, in part, because for years the parish has been funding functions that are part of consolidation that are not core functions of a parish government. We have to address the underlying structural problems in the budget, and how we allocate the costs of consolidation. Only then can we get to the root of the issue and make the necessary cuts to restore the parish’s fund balance to a healthy level. The voters of the parish have made it loud and clear that they do not support new tax revenues. And so I will be very transparent about the cuts that will take place to get the parish budget back in line.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Simone Champagne never responded.


How will you diversify the local economy and bring prosperity both parishwide and into the city’s urban core?

We must take advantage of President Trump’s tax cut and Secretary Carson’s opportunity zone initiative. Bringing jobs to economically depressed areas is a key component of the Marcotte Priorities.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

Diversifying our economy is paramount to our long-term economic sustainability. To achieve this goal, Lafayette must be attractive to new businesses. The UDC stunts business growth in Lafayette, it is overly strenuous to existing businesses, and it is not welcoming to prospective new businesses. The more I learn about the UDC, the more I am convinced that the problems encountered also derive from the implementation of the UDC. After discussing this issue intensely with business owners, developers, and the general public, I would support a complete repeal and replace of the UDC. My position is made with the recognition that there are certainly some provisions in the UDC that are helpful. I acknowledge that we need rules and regulations. However, a fresh start from a regulatory standpoint that makes Lafayette the most inviting to businesses that we can be would go a long way with diversifying our economy.

Further, while diversifying our economy is important, we must not forget the importance of our oil and gas industry. There are plenty of policies coming out of Baton Rouge that hurt this vital industry that are outside of our control, but we cannot let that serve as an excuse to not pursue our oil and gas industry. As Mayor-President, I will diversity our economy, and I will also use this platform to partner with our Legislators in Baton Rouge to help return our oil and gas industry. Two areas of focus that I will advocate for is reforming our legal climate and reducing the standard severance tax rate on oil production so that we are competitive with states such as Texas. Again, our oil and gas industry has left due to the failed policies in Baton Rouge. I simply do not want to sit back and just accept that failure, and the Mayor of the 4th largest city in the state should be able to have a loud enough voice to make a difference in advocating policies that can better our city, parish, and state.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

We spend too much time in Lafayette Parish worried about which part of the parish is competing with another part of the parish. We will only be able to prosper when we understand that we are all competing with other areas our size across the country. Only by banding together as a team will we be able to build a world-class economy. Every part of the parish has a role to play. As mayor-president, it will be my job to help coordinate economic development throughout the parish, focusing on each area’s unique opportunities and assets.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

Simone Champagne never responded.


How will you achieve economic and environmental sustainability in improving and maintaining our roads and our electric, water and wastewater utilities?

The Lafayette economy must continue to diversify into industries other than oil and gas, but at the same time we must ensure that the jobs we are bringing in are high paying, middle class jobs that our residents can fill. I will work hard to attract manufacturing, medical, and technology jobs.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

In regards to roads, I will work in conjunction with our city and parish councils to develop an objective “worst to first” list for the city and the unincorporated areas of the parish that balances the condition of the roads and the amount of traffic on each respective road. After the lists are compiled, we will begin on the roads at the top of the list and work our way down.

Our electric, water, and wastewater utilities should always be under constant scrutiny to be delivered to our residents in the most efficient manner – both from a cost and services perspective. My administration will strive to find ways that we can obtain energy at the lowest cost, and then transfer this savings to the consumer. By doing so, businesses can reinvest in our community and homeowners can have more discretional income.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

Infrastructure (of all types) needs to be built as efficiently as possible, with consideration of long-term maintenance obligations. Sustainability is a term that is used to describe the efficient use of resources over the long term. The way we achieve that is by understanding the life cycle and long-term maintenance obligations of infrastructure that we put in and ensures the most conservative use of our limited resources.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

Simone Champagne never responded.


What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in both the city and parish?

Drainage remains a serious and significant threat to the people of Lafayette. As Mayor-President, I will work with our regional partners to ensure that a comprehensive, regional master plan is developed. I will work with the Army Corps of Engineers and negotiate a deal with Vermilion Parish to ensure that the Vermilion is dredged. Lastly, I will ensure that lateral drainage systems are cleaned of debris and obstructions.

Nancy Marcotte
Mayor-President Candidate

My administration will start by getting our priorities in order within local government. I learned as an officer in the Army that if everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. All departments will be consistently reexamined throughout the budget year for any actual or forecasted surpluses. Any excess money should be considered for drainage, and I will lead the charge in making sure that we spend taxpayer money responsibly on priorities, with drainage being at the top.

Drainage must be addressed with a comprehensive plan. Within our parish, my administration will continue to clean out coulees, ditches, laterals, address litter, and adequately employ detention ponds. However, those efforts are not enough to effectively combat drainage. As Mayor-President, I will work with our neighboring Parish Presidents along with the Army Corps of Engineers to address drainage from a watershed standpoint. Dredging the Vermilion River along with proactively turning off the pumps at the Teche-Vermilion freshwater pumping station in anticipation of heavy storms are also very important initiatives in addressing drainage. Working with our neighboring parishes and municipalities within our parish will be key in accomplishing these efforts.

Josh Guillory
Mayor-President Candidate

Carlos Harvin never responded.

Simone Champagne never responded.

I will push forward on a comprehensive approach to mitigating our flood risk. There is not one single solution. We have to take a leadership role in the region to begin to manage risk at the regional watershed level. We have to take advantage of our natural floodways by utilizing them for large detention projects that lower the base flood elevation for an entire section of the parish. We have to maintain channels, coordinating with all municipalities and the parish in a parish-wide system of maintenance. We have to continue the work of the UDC, modernizing our approaches to detention associated with new development. And we have to work with our federal and state officials to tackle larger projects like dredging the Vermilion River.

We have rededicated several million dollars from other uses towards drainage in the last few years. That’s a start. We will also need to put together a cohesive team on a regional level to compete for the tens of millions in state and federal funding that has become available because of recent flood events. But funders at the national level will need to see that Lafayette has developed a comprehensive, well-thought-out, data-driven plan to mitigate flood risk if we hope to maximize that funding.

Carlee Alm-LaBar
Mayor-President Candidate

City Council District 1

Candidates

  • John Ford
  • Mark Pope
  • Matthew Sias Jr.
  • Pat Lewis
    ✅ Winner
  • Sarah Gauthier Roy

Your Questions,
Answered


What will you do to provide more recreation programming for kids and seniors?

I previously started a program within an assisted living home, the Intergenerational Arts Initiative, which employed artists to teach workshops to children in our community and residents of the assisted living home together. I am looking to expand this program to recreation centers throughout Lafayette. Empowering the elderly within this community to find value within themselves and allowing them to engage with children in a teaching and play-based atmosphere will bring value to the citizens as a whole.

Sarah Gauthier Roy
City Council District 1 Candidate

There are numerous recreation programs currently available to all citizens in Lafayette Parish through the Lafayette Parks & Recreation Department. If the Lafayette City Council were to closely examine the dozens of programs available to kids and seniors, then we could determine which programs are popular, and which programs could be altered to meet popular demand. I will be a representative for my constituents in City District #1. Your question assumes that “I have all the answers.” I will listen to my constituents, as any good representative would, and will strive to meet their needs and desires. My constituents have the answer to your question.

Mark Pope
City Council District 1 Candidate

Our parks and rec right now have not have had any major renovations, and I believe as a city we need to reinvest back into parks and rec to secure the future of our youth. Which will eventually combat crime.

Matthew Sias Jr.
City Council District 1 Candidate

Community centers are being under funded, and they should not only serve as places to just play, but also provide services and education opportunities. I will fight for increased funding to accomplish this goal.

John Ford
City Council District 1 Candidate

Pat Lewis never responded.


What will you do to move more public resources to repairing and improving roads and other infrastructure in our district?

We have to assess our tax structure and allocation tables. We must carefully assess the building of any new roads considering our inability to maintain what we have in place.

Sarah Gauthier Roy
City Council District 1 Candidate

Lafayette Parish residents pay 4.17 mills on their property tax bill for “road & bridge improvement,” which generates $9.5 million dollars annually. All property tax millages need to be scrutinized and revised to serve the basic needs of government in the wisest and most efficient way possible. Road and bridge maintenance is a vital government service, and citizens are demanding that Lafayette government focus more on road/bridge improvement. We must reduce property taxes (millages) that receive too much annual money, and increase property millages that are not receiving enough money, such as the LCG roads and bridges fund.

Mark Pope
City Council District 1 Candidate

We have major infrastructure projects that are underfunded right now, like Louisiana Avenue extension, University Four Corners, and St. Antoine Extension. My goal first is to take care of the projects that are already in place by reallocating funds to those projects.

Matthew Sias Jr.
City Council District 1 Candidate

Our economy relies on a functioning, efficient transportation system to prosper and grow. I will develop a culture of trust among fellow council members so that we can equably distribute resources throughout the city.

John Ford
City Council District 1 Candidate

Pat Lewis never responded.


How will you promote sustainable economic development on Lafayette’s Northside without inviting gentrification?

We have to utilize the infrastructure and open space we have to invite higher income earning individuals and families to move here in order to raise the average income level and make it financially beneficial for businesses to open and succeed. We must improve our public schools, enforce blight codes, reduce crime, and rebrand the Northside of Lafayette. We have to empower our community leaders and work with our faith-based community and non-profit agencies to accomplish this holistically. When we do this, demand will rise and supply will come.

Sarah Gauthier Roy
City Council District 1 Candidate

Gentrification means “the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste.” The implication of your question is that gentrification is a bad thing. Economic development is possible when an investor sees an area that has pride in its immediate surroundings and environment. Investors want to locate to an area where roadside cleanliness and maintenance of residential yards and businesses are visual pleasing. “Optics,” or the visual appeal of an area, speaks volumes in creating a first impression. I will work tirelessly to organize clean-ups of those areas that need to be improved; I did this for 27 years as an LCG employee in the Environmental Division. I will instill pride and ownership in those areas that need economic development, then I will seek out investors and sell them on the merits of that pride and ownership. I will be an ambassador for City District #1. I will be an active, full-time leader, not a passive observer, for Lafayette’s north side. Passivity has not improved Lafayette’s north side, but passivity and lack of action is what previous council members have provided for Lafayette’s north side. Words are cheap. It’s time for true leadership and action.

Mark Pope
City Council District 1 Candidate

By first empowering the people of north Lafayette and creating higher paying jobs to help them purchase homes inside of our community.

Matthew Sias Jr.
City Council District 1 Candidate

I believe it is paramount that economic development take place without gentrification, and that happens with transparency and integrity and by including all of our citizens in the process. That’s how I plan to promote sustainability.

John Ford
City Council District 1 Candidate

Pat Lewis never responded.


How will you expand access in our district to vital community services like healthcare, good housing and healthy food?

Engaging LEDA, the health unit, and community development to create a process for business owners in these arenas to follow in order to make these options more easily accessible. We must also utilize all means of communication in order to be certain the information about healthcare, housing, and health are easily available to everyone.

Sarah Gauthier Roy
City Council District 1 Candidate

As a full-time council representative, I will provide assistance to constituents with healthcare, housing, or nutritional issues. Some local agencies can assist with these issues, but much of the assistance with these issues comes from state and federal programs. I will be a clearinghouse of information to assist my constituents. Your question omits a vital element of service necessary to any community. That is, the elderly and disabled always need assistance. As a full-time ambassador for all my constituents, I will learn the system, and fully utilize all services — whether local, state, or federal — that are available to those who need assistance.

Mark Pope
City Council District 1 Candidate

As a young businessman I will attempt to enter a public partnership with a healthcare facility to bring some type of urgent care facility to north Lafayette. By placing adjudicated property with a land bank and forcing new development that will help our housing issue.

Matthew Sias Jr.
City Council District 1 Candidate

Community services access will occur through at least three paths: (1) community organizing and development (2) collaboration in service delivery, and (3) the implementation of community-based programs, which I will engage and work with the city community development director to implement.

John Ford
City Council District 1 Candidate

Pat Lewis never responded.


How will you address blight, particularly widespread litter, the abundance of abandoned homes and adjudicated properties on Lafayette’s Northside?

We must revive the Redevelopment Authority and combine programs that solve these issues under one department. We must invest in jobs in code enforcement and evaluate the process from phone call to clean up. Above all, we need to address all influencers of poverty and hopelessness that are a direct cause of these issues.

Sarah Gauthier Roy
City Council District 1 Candidate

Mark Pope will be a hands-on, full-time council representative for City Council District #1. I performed litter clean-ups throughout my 27-year career in the Environmental Division of Lafayette Consolidated Government. I will organize and execute periodic clean-ups of District #1. Talk is cheap, and action speaks loudly. We must instill pride and a sense of ownership throughout District #1. The issue of abandoned homes, blight, and adjudicated properties is a complicated one. Government cannot take action on abandoned, blighted, and adjudicated homes until the bureaucratic process has been completed. Homes that are a danger to the community (e.g., structurally dangerous or a haven for vagrants or crime) must be given urgent attention. I will be an ambassador to expedite these issues, and improve the surrounding neighborhood(s). One remedy to abandoned property is to have adjacent neighbors cut grass and maintain the property for one year — this is a standing state law. After one year, the adjacent landowner is given ownership of the property at a nominal cost. This has never been promoted, nor used, by previous LCG administrations. I will explore all options to improve City District #1, and will be a leader in following initiatives through to completion.

Mark Pope
City Council District 1 Candidate

North Lafayette needs a large number of dump zones to cover the abundance of litter. Second, adjudicated properties need to go in a land bank with stipulations that it would not be a rehab but would become new affordable housing. Plans must be submitted and approved by a adjudicated property governing task force appointed by the Lafayette City Council.

Matthew Sias Jr.
City Council District 1 Candidate

By focusing efforts near neighborhood assets such as schools, parks, and community centers. I will then address homes and adjudicated properties by relaxing zoning and permits codes/regulations that would encourage families and landlords to take action.

John Ford
City Council District 1 Candidate

Pat Lewis never responded.

City Council District 2

Candidates

  • Andre “Andy” Naquin
    ✅ Winner
  • Bruce Conque

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you use your position of influence to improve public education for children in our district?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

The Lafayette Parish Library system is one of the best in the state. It complements public education by providing resources for enhancing the learning experience. For example, every library has state-of-the-art computer labs with broadband connections to the internet. That narrows the digital divide for many of our younger population. Of course, it is also accessible to all. While the City Council will not have direct governing authority, I can and will partner with both Parish Council and School Board members to improve public education.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

How will you improve access to community services, health care, housing and a better quality of life for the disadvantaged in our district?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

Certainly there is a need to improve services, and that can be accomplished through our Department of Community Development. However, whatever the outreach, it must be localized to the disadvantaged population. Convenient access includes not only location but public transportation options as well.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

How will you address budget constraints in consolidated government, including the parish budget, from your position on the city council?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

The “budget constraints” exist primarily in the Parish budget. The allocation schedule that defines who pays what for LCG must be adjusted to reflect fair and equal sharing of expenses. Currently, the city of Lafayette funds a disproportionate amount based on a formula that effectively determines what the Parish can afford to pay, regardless of benefits received.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

How will you secure and prioritize funding for maintenance and improvement of roads and other infrastructure in our district, particularly in the urban core?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

Infrastructure capital improvements are funded with a small City property tax, with the majority of the revenues generated by a dedicated portion of the 2-cent City sales tax. The Lafayette City Council will establish priorities in spending the funds during the annual budget review. The urban core presents a unique challenge in that there is considerable aging infrastructure in place. Roads are the most visible. However, sub-surface water and sewer lines also require attention, and improvements and expansions are the responsibility of the Lafayette Utilities System, whose revenues are generated by its customer billing. As with roads, priorities are established and funding is pay as you go or through voter-approved bonds.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in our district?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

The priority is to develop a plan. We’ve set aside $39 million for stormwater diversion in the city of Lafayette. The funding is in place; what is lacking is a comprehensive master stormwater management program for the Teche-Vermilion watershed that drains several parishes, including Lafayette.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

City Council District 2

Candidates

  • Andre “Andy” Naquin
    ✅ Winner
  • Bruce Conque

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you use your position of influence to improve public education for children in our district?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

The Lafayette Parish Library system is one of the best in the state. It complements public education by providing resources for enhancing the learning experience. For example, every library has state-of-the-art computer labs with broadband connections to the internet. That narrows the digital divide for many of our younger population. Of course, it is also accessible to all. While the City Council will not have direct governing authority, I can and will partner with both Parish Council and School Board members to improve public education.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

How will you improve access to community services, health care, housing and a better quality of life for the disadvantaged in our district?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

Certainly there is a need to improve services, and that can be accomplished through our Department of Community Development. However, whatever the outreach, it must be localized to the disadvantaged population. Convenient access includes not only location but public transportation options as well.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

How will you address budget constraints in consolidated government, including the parish budget, from your position on the city council?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

The “budget constraints” exist primarily in the Parish budget. The allocation schedule that defines who pays what for LCG must be adjusted to reflect fair and equal sharing of expenses. Currently, the city of Lafayette funds a disproportionate amount based on a formula that effectively determines what the Parish can afford to pay, regardless of benefits received.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

How will you secure and prioritize funding for maintenance and improvement of roads and other infrastructure in our district, particularly in the urban core?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

Infrastructure capital improvements are funded with a small City property tax, with the majority of the revenues generated by a dedicated portion of the 2-cent City sales tax. The Lafayette City Council will establish priorities in spending the funds during the annual budget review. The urban core presents a unique challenge in that there is considerable aging infrastructure in place. Roads are the most visible. However, sub-surface water and sewer lines also require attention, and improvements and expansions are the responsibility of the Lafayette Utilities System, whose revenues are generated by its customer billing. As with roads, priorities are established and funding is pay as you go or through voter-approved bonds.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in our district?

Andre “Andy” Naquin never responded.

The priority is to develop a plan. We’ve set aside $39 million for stormwater diversion in the city of Lafayette. The funding is in place; what is lacking is a comprehensive master stormwater management program for the Teche-Vermilion watershed that drains several parishes, including Lafayette.

Bruce Conque
City Council District 2 Candidate

City Council District 3

Candidates

  • James Noriega Jr.
  • Liz Hebert
    ✅ Winner

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you promote sustainable economic development that doesn’t add to consolidated government’s financial burden, and diversify the local economy?

We have to work to make Lafayette a place that leaders will want to bring their businesses — this includes a business-friendly environment that provides support and incentives. This does not mean a one-size-fits-all approach to incentives, but we must look at the return on investment that we will see as a community. We have recently approved Cultural Districts in Lafayette, state historic tax credits for revitalization projects and local sales tax exemptions for original artwork sold within districts’ boundaries. Cultural Districts throughout the state benefit from increased commerce, improved occupancy, a greater sense of community identity, and more artistic and cultural production. We also have to help lift up our current local businesses and provide support so they can thrive. Lafayette has done a good job of expanding outside of oil and gas to healthcare and technology, and we should continue our efforts in these fields but also continue to explore other opportunities that can offer a wider variety of jobs.

Liz Hebert
City Council District 3 Candidate

Economic development needs solid infrastructure to work. We must improve our roads and address drainage and flooding issues. When these issues are addressed, we can actively pursue businesses to relocate or come back to Lafayette. Our culture of good hard working people definitely is a catalyst for economic development. We have lost so many oil-related jobs because of the decisions of our governor. Hopefully with a change in state leadership we may be able to have some of these jobs return.

James Noriega Jr.
City Council District 3 Candidate

How will you use your position of influence to improve public education for children in our district?

It is important to have good working relationships with the school board members and LPSS administration. Although I serve on the City-Parish Council, my constituents will often reach out with concerns or questions about LPSS issues, which I will work with the school board to address. I am supportive of both public and private schools and participate in any events or activities that I am invited to in order to remain engaged in my community.

Liz Hebert
City Council District 3 Candidate

I believe we need to make sure to elect solid leaders to the School Board. Good board members will ensure improvement of our children’s education. If there is a reason for the council to influence the School Board that would have to be made on a case-by-case basis.

James Noriega Jr.
City Council District 3 Candidate

How will you address budget constraints in consolidated government, including the parish budget, from your position on the city council?

Collaboration will be essential for the City and Parish Councils to work together, especially during budget time. If we don’t work together, the community suffers. My experience working on the City-Parish budget for the last four years will help with the transition.

Liz Hebert
City Council District 3 Candidate

As a business owner and a family man, I address budget constraints all the time. The city only has so much money, and we must prioritize our spending. I do not want any more taxes! We as a city must learn to live within our budget.

James Noriega Jr.
City Council District 3 Candidate

What will you do to fund the repair and improvement of roads and other infrastructure in our district and how will you prioritize them?

LCG already has a fair system in place for determining which roads are in the most need of repair and are to be included in the overlay list. This process is completed every other year, where they assess every road and rate them based on different factors; they are then placed in order of need. I work with Public Works’ roads division on the roads in my district and make sure that the work is being completed. Many roads in Lafayette have not been approved by LCG to be taken over by the city due to various reasons, and I plan to continue to work with developers and HOAs to make sure those roads are brought up to standard so we can start maintaining them. Finally, I report potholes that I encounter while traveling around town to be repaired.

Liz Hebert
City Council District 3 Candidate

I think we need to prioritize the high traffic roads. The roads with the most traffic are the ones that get damaged the most from the high volume of traffic on them. Other roads should be prioritized on the severity of the damage to the infrastructure. I believe we need to look at the budget and find the money that can be moved from other locations in the budget in order to improve our infrastructure. No new taxes.

James Noriega Jr.
City Council District 3 Candidate

What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in our district?

Since 2016, I supported stronger drainage requirements for new residential and commercial developments, worked with LCG to clean out ditches and subsurface drainage across my district, cleared coulees and bridges of debris and am currently working with federal and state officials to acquire permits for dredging the Vermilion. I co-authored the request for support from the governor, the Acadiana legislative delegation, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development in order to fund the dredging of the Vermilion River. We also requested that the Teche-Vermilion Fresh Water District and/or any authorized agencies cease the pumping of water to Bayou Courtableau and/or any other areas into Bayou Teche and the Vermilion River in anticipation of future severe weather events.
I have also allocated more than $40 million for future city drainage projects and supported $5 million budgeted for the Vermilion River dredging.

Liz Hebert
City Council District 3 Candidate

We have had many consultants giving strategies for storm water management and drainage. I believe we already have the information we need to make good decisions. The river does need to be dredged, according to the experts. I think the council needs to apply for funds that are available from the state and U.S. government and begin the conversation with the Corps of Engineers to start the process. Inaction in this matter is not prudent at this time.

James Noriega Jr.
City Council District 3 Candidate

City Council District 4

Candidates

  • Joyce Linde
  • Nanette Cook
    ✅ Winner

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you address budget constraints in consolidated government, including the parish budget, from your position on the city council

Obviously, this will take time to study and understand the transition that took place with deconsolidation and to keep in mind that the City and Parish have to co-exist peacefully.

Joyce Linde
City Council District 4 Candidate

For the past three budget hearings we have had to address budget constraints and review each department’s budget plan for both city and parish. In doing this we have made some adjustments where possible to ensure fiscal responsibility. As a city council member I will be responsible for the city budget and will continue to look for ways to fund services needed and expected by the public. One example will include review of service contracts to determine their costs and benefits to the public. As a member of the parish as well, we will work together with both councils to ensure fiscal stability in both budgets.

Nanette Cook
City Council District 4 Candidate

How will you promote sustainable economic development that doesn’t add to consolidated government’s financial burden, and diversify the local economy?

It is important to create a business friendly environment that is welcoming to private investors. The Opportunity Zone created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides investor access to capital gains tax incentives both immediately and long term. This will encourage private investors to go into undeveloped or low-income areas.

Joyce Linde
City Council District 4 Candidate

Having worked with investors and developers these past four years, I feel I have a better understanding of how we can encourage growth with private funding. With the help of LEDA and the Opportunity Machine, I have seen new businesses and companies invest in our community. As a council member we can work with planning and development to encourage developments that will positively affect and respect our community. There are so many factors that go into encouraging new companies to invest in Lafayette. Besides the basics of roads and drainage needs, there are the quality of life issues as well as our school system’s strength, which companies consider before relocating their families here. All these contribute to a successful community, and they all need our attention.

Nanette Cook
City Council District 4 Candidate

How you will navigate competing interests and opinions on hot-button social issues that periodically come before local government?

As our community grows and we welcome more people to Lafayette, we become a more interesting and diverse place to live. The unique gifts that each of us bring to this area also include many different ideas and viewpoints on issues. As a council member, I am elected to represent my constituents, so I always listen and respect their opinions. As a member of this community, I also have an opinion and I will represent my constituents and myself as best as I can on any social issues that come before the council.

Nanette Cook
City Council District 4 Candidate

There will always be hot–button issues. It is important to honor the traditional values of the citizens within District 4 and vote accordingly. Taxpayers should not be called upon to fund events or programs that are not within the priorities of government responsibilities, which are 1) improving drainage and flooding 2) improving roads and infrastructure 3) providing police and fire protection.

Joyce Linde
City Council District 4 Candidate

What will you do to fund the repair and improvement of roads and other infrastructure in our district and how will you prioritize them?

Like drainage, our roads have not been maintained as needed. The list of roads that “need immediate attention” is growing, and funding for this is not. We need to solicit funds from the state when state roads are the issue. This requires contact with our state legislators to push for these funds. Moving forward we need to look to other cities our size for new ideas on how we can fund our roads and infrastructure.

Nanette Cook
City Council District 4 Candidate

Roads and Infrastructure are one of the top 3 priorities. Pinhook Road is congested and in terrible condition, which is exacerbated by the massive Campion Student Housing. The Planning and Zoning Boards denied Campion a permit, but the LCG Council provided an exemption. I would not have voted for this exemption. It is important to provide funding and better planning to relieve traffic congestion and safer, smoother roads.

Joyce Linde
City Council District 4 Candidate

What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in our district?

As a current council member, I have participated in the rededication of funds to drainage and reported areas of my district that need attention. I have also secured $5 million in the current budget to dredge the Vermilion River, a Corps of Engineers waterway. I have also been involved in meetings with members of the Corps, the Mississippi River Commission and our Watershed Council to establish a plan for our entire watershed district.

Nanette Cook
City Council District 4 Candidate

Investment in drainage needs to be a top priority. A regional plan needs to be developed and accelerated. The plan needs to insure that while alleviating flooding in one area, it does no harm to another. In November 2017, the LCG Council paired drainage and CREATE on the Ballot — forcing citizens to vote for both or none. In April 2019, LCG Council voted to take $10M away from drainage for libraries and recreation. I will put drainage and flooding as top priority in funding and planning.

Joyce Linde
City Council District 4 Candidate

City Council District 5

Candidates

  • Aaron Staten
  • Glenn Lazard
    ✅ Winner
  • Janet Jackson
  • Lionel Rodriguez

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you increase the presence of police patrols to combat violent crime and drug activity in our district?

Addressing crime within any community begins with police-community relations. It is a proven fact that residents are more inclined to assist law enforcement in not only solving but preventing criminal activity when there is reciprocal trust and respect. I will certainly do everything within my power as a council person to help facilitate this relationship. I will also work to insure that the Lafayette Police Department is fully staffed and has the tools and resources necessary to provide the protection and services our residents expect and deserve, especially in those areas that have the greatest needs.

Glenn Lazard
City Council District 5 Candidate

The Lafayette city policy is currently facing challenges concerning pay and retaining police officers. The safety of our citizens is non-negotiable. We have to insure that every measure is in place to protect our citizens despite the challenges. I will support our police department in every way possible to ensure that our community remains safe. I would like to explore all options when talking about reducing crime. This is critical to our community and economic resurrection.

Lionel Rodriguez
City Council District 5 Candidate

While our police department is experiencing a shortage of officers and it takes a year for training, we will work to employ community-based watch systems.

Janet Jackson
City Council District 5 Candidate

1. Making sure we keep police pay competitive so we stop losing officers, which has been a major priority, according to various members of the Lafayette PD.
2. Enhancing neighborhood & community policing.
3. Focused Deterrence, which includes getting everyone involved: law enforcement, social services, and community mobilization. Requesting a commitment from the Mayor and other community leaders on this issue.
4. Creating and/or increasing the impact of a community anti-drug coalition.
5. Engaging & working with the PD and professionals on strategies that have worked for us, and how we can enhance those and other measures.
6. Research and implement programs like the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Program, which is the only Federal drug prevention program that provides funding directly to local communities to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth. It is funded by a federal grant. (Not raising your taxes)
7. Introducing new and building upon current youth-based economic opportunities and mentorship programs.

Aaron Staten
City Council District 5 Candidate

How you will provide better access to quality housing and address delinquent and predatory property owners?

The simplest solution is to provide our residents with the education and skills necessary to obtain jobs that pay a sufficient “living wage” so that they can afford to purchase homes. It is a known fact that homeowners tend to take better care of their property than renters. This in turn uplifts the entire community. As far as “slum lords” are concerned, we simply need to hold them accountable by strictly enforcing, and in some cases even strengthening, current ordinances that require properties to be kept up to a certain standard.

Glenn Lazard
City Council District 5 Candidate

I have been in the business of homeownership for over 35 years, so this subject is very important to me. First, we have to stop the number of low-income housing developments on the Northside. I would advocate for more mixed-income housing developments. I would also support the creation of the Lafayette North Redevelopment Board as put forth in the Coalition of Black Organizations agenda. This board would focus on landing bank-owned properties and putting them back into productive housing for our community. Tenants have rights. I would promote continuing education for tenants so predatory property owners do not take advantage. Most importantly, access to better quality housing will come with economic development and higher wages.

Lionel Rodriguez
City Council District 5 Candidate

Since many of the houses in District 5 are rental properties, I will educate the constituents on rental rights and hold landlords accountable for maintenance of their property. I will work to bring affordable mixed/upper income houses, which also encourages growth.

Janet Jackson
City Council District 5 Candidate

1. By introducing smart resolutions and ordinances. Example, an ordinance requiring all rentals be registered, livable, and inspected yearly: accountability.
2. Meeting with current developers and prospective developers on how we can improve regulations to produce quality housing in accordance with the community’s voiced expectations.

Aaron Staten
City Council District 5 Candidate

How you will navigate competing interests and opinions on hot-button social issues that periodically come before local government?

It is my experience that so called hot-button issues are best resolved by allowing all interested and affected parties to have a seat at the table and the opportunity to voice their opinion. It is my personal and professional experience that most people simply want the opportunity to be heard. My extensive negotiating training and experience has given me the tools necessary to facilitate discussions and search for amicable solutions to any type of problem.

Glenn Lazard
City Council District 5 Candidate

I will be open minded and listen to both sides. I will also be respectful of the issue at hand. Ultimately, I will listen to my community and my own beliefs to make a determination on the issue. My focus will remain rebuilding the Northside economy.

Lionel Rodriguez
City Council District 5 Candidate

These situations will happen in government. I will listen to my constituents while working to find a place of compromise on the issue(s).

Janet Jackson
City Council District 5 Candidate

With the truth and facts of the matter. Also sticking with our priorities, what my platform has lined out, while also making sure the taxpayer gets their voice heard, and needs relayed to the best option. I don’t give up on the people and their issues.

Aaron Staten
City Council District 5 Candidate

How will you improve the conditions of our roads and provide accessible and more diverse transportation options like public transit and safe paths for bikes and pedestrians?

When it comes to infrastructure projects such as roads, sidewalks, etc. everything starts with available funds. I will search for necessary funds to insure that public roads and streets within the district are maintained and repaired when necessary. It is imperative that we provide cyclists and pedestrians with safe pathways to get around various parts of the community. I would strongly favor a policy that insures that a certain percentage of funds budgeted for roadway construction be allocated to bicycle trails, sidewalks and other safety improvements, especially is areas where there is a proven need. We need to constantly evaluate public transit to insure that it is meeting the needs of the community.

Glenn Lazard
City Council District 5 Candidate

I will improve our roads and pedestrian walkways by fighting and securing funding for our district. Secondly, planning and spending the funds in a way that is not wasteful and enhances the value of our district and city. I am in favor of expanding our bike paths where it makes sense. We must not force bike paths along dangerous streets and byways. I would be in favor of the scooters as a mode of transportation on a more restrictive basis and in certain areas. I would also meet with local residents who use public transportation for input on improvements.

Lionel Rodriguez
City Council District 5 Candidate

I will work to make sure federal grant monies allocated are dispersed in areas needed most concerning infrastructure. I will re-evaluate the transportation system we currently have to make them safer and more community friendly. I will implement the Adopt-A-Road program with DOTD throughout District 5.

Janet Jackson
City Council District 5 Candidate

1. Using experience learned from programs like “Rebuild Lafayette North,” a ’90s quasi-government entity investing over $106 million in infrastructure, I plan to use various financial tools, including federal grants and matching funds, to fix as well as upgrade roads and infrastructure. All without raising taxes.

2. Consulting with experts in the craft like Andre Angelle, president of Bike Lafayette, a cycling advocacy organization that focuses on education, safety, infrastructure, and community in Acadiana, on the most efficient ways to provide safe paths for bikes and pedestrians.

Aaron Staten
City Council District 5 Candidate

How you will you work to reverse economic decline and bring access to good jobs and better housing in our district?

For starters we need to make the area more visually attractive for both potential businesses and residents. Additionally, I will search for and utilize every available economic development tool and incentive to retain current businesses and encourage new employers to locate within the district.

Glenn Lazard
City Council District 5 Candidate

My number one priority will be the economic resurrection of District 5. I am confident that in a very short time we can gain economic victories. We must utilize every economic tool and utilize every economic agency locally, regionally and statewide. We will beautify the Northside so it is visually pleasing for a business to want to locate here. I will work closely with community leaders of the Northside to insure we are moving in the right direction. I will be an advocate for diversity in city government departments to insure that qualified candidates have the opportunity for good paying jobs. I will push to resolve the I-49 corridor as it is holding us economically hostage. I pledge to support and work with the school board to turn around our schools and work with the police to insure the safety of our citizens. This is vital to our economic growth. I will support improvement of the infrastructure for our downtown as it has value for business recruitment and expanded housing.
We must convert renters to homeowners. By educating the public on available programs, we can achieve increased homeownership. I will work with local banks, mortgage companies, Habitat for Humanity and other non-profits to coordinate this effort. Better housing will follow after we start scoring economic victories for District 5.

Lionel Rodriguez
City Council District 5 Candidate

My plans to reverse the economic decline include looking for creative ways to educate the current job force (i.e. promoting workforce development) while preparing the future job force for upcoming trends in industry (i.e. increasing school-based career programs) and also while attracting businesses who desire to come to our district (i.e. addressing the crime rate and blight). I will refuse to allow any more funds allocated and budgeted for our district to drain into other districts. Also, I will work closely with LEDA, DDA, Louisiana Workforce, local developers, and private stakeholders. My focus is to bring value-based businesses that create good jobs with benefits and a living wage.

Janet Jackson
City Council District 5 Candidate

1. Work with existing entities to further enhance their current efforts (including coteries, non-profits, and community-driven organizations).
2. Creation of a Technology Center housed on the Northside that will include educational pursuits, job training, and certification with starting pays of $40k-$140k+ a year.
3. Use my experience in past successful housing projects like Bayberry Point Apartments (Lafayette), McKnight Manor Apartments (Opelousas), and Horizon Ln (Lafayette) to improve regulations for current local housing developers. With non-discrimination to developer or organization; carefully weighing the costs and benefits of various incentives, while evaluating them relative to the cost of meeting specific housing requirements.

Aaron Staten
City Council District 5 Candidate

Parish Council District 1

Candidates

  • Bryan Tabor
    ✅ Winner
  • Keith Kishbaugh

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you improve the conditions of our roads and provide accessible and more diverse transportation options like public transit and safe paths for bikes and pedestrians?

I believe this is a question for someone running for a city seat. I am running for a parish seat where to the best of my knowledge these items do not exist.

Bryan Tabor
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

In addition to road improvements, our roads need to be widened. We also have a great need for sidewalks throughout the parish; this would allow walkers and bikers a safe lane to travel.

Keith Kishbaugh
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

How will you improve access to community services, health care, housing and a better quality of life for the disadvantaged in our district?

I don’t think we need to add any new programs, but we do need to educate the public on what programs do exist and help them implement those programs.

Bryan Tabor
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

I would like to reach out to the state and federal levels to see what programs are available for the people in our community. I would also like to better advertise these programs and make them simpler for people to understand.

Keith Kishbaugh
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

How will you promote sustainable economic development on Lafayette’s Northside that diversifies industry and makes our economy more resilient?

I don’t think we need to add any new programs, but we do need to educate the public on what programs do exist and help them implement those programs.

Bryan Tabor
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

We would have to make the Northside attractive to businesses that would be comfortable with our roads, drainage and workforce that would promote a profitable end result for those businesses.

Keith Kishbaugh
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

What changes to the parish budget and tax structure will you consider to stabilize finances, meet state mandated expenses and invest in parish infrastructure?

“NEEDS before WANTS.” I plan on reviewing the budget and looking at the current sales and property tax structures by possibly re-appropriating monies and adjusting millage rates. I do believe in cutting services if it is not a NEED. And I do not support raising taxes. I think if we do a review of the existing incoming dollars and take care of the NEEDS, we will eventually have monies for the WANTS.

Bryan Tabor
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

I have to get into the office, invest time into the accounting, invest time into the tax structure and see how we can appropriate the existing funds to funnel improvements to the weakest areas to start with.

Keith Kishbaugh
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

How will you address blight, particularly widespread litter, the abundance of abandoned homes and adjudicated properties on Lafayette’s Northside?

These items have been a problem for a long time, and it will not be an easy fix. It starts with getting people to take pride in their community; when you have pride in or for something you tend to take better care of it.

Bryan Tabor
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

On blight, I have no clue, that would be for a scientist to figure out. Although, if you give me enough time, I will figure it out. Litter is an absolute disaster in this town. I would increase fines to where they mean something for littering, I would have penalties for throwing cigarette butts out of vehicles, and I would have government employees dedicate a reasonable amount of time to organize groups to clean up the litter. I would also put forth a volunteer community effort to take responsibility for certain areas/roads to be kept clean. As for the properties: I would like to lead an effort to pool investors to create a non-profit to systematically obtain these properties, improve them and then sell or lease them.

Keith Kishbaugh
Parish Council District 1 Candidate

Parish Council District 2

Candidates

  • Kevin Naquin
    ✅ Winner
  • Ted A. Richard

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you promote sustainable economic development that doesn’t add to consolidated government’s financial burden, and diversify the local economy?

The only way we can sustain economic development for the parish is to make sure we address the important issues that affect future development. For example, we need to make sure that we can provide and fund parish fire protection. Without the proper protection, insurance rates will be too high for residents and businesses to develop in the unincorporated areas of the parish. We must look at all of these things to make it attractive for economic development. We must also look at our policies and procedures in regards to developing to ensure we are not putting our government in a financial burden.

In regards to diversifying the economy, I will continue to work with LEDA and other entities to help diversify our local economy. We have a great hospital system with Lafayette General, along with the University of Louisiana and SLCC that offers nursing degrees and more. We also have IT companies looking to expand here in Lafayette Parish. So there are opportunities for growth. We also need to find ways to bring the oil and gas industry jobs back!

Kevin Naquin
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

I think that your question is very misleading. The consolidated government does not have a “burden.” The City of Lafayette has acquired assets and reserve funds aplenty. But the Parish is virtually BROKE!
Currently there is more than $1.3 million dollars delinquent in property taxes which would all belong to the parish. What are we doing to collect those taxes? Absolutely nothing! I would work closely with the Tax Assessor’s office to create a small committee to focus on collecting those delinquent tax bills.
And that’s not all!
I would propose a 1% tax for the entire parish for a two-year period, which would all go to the parish coffers. This would give the parish an opportunity to “get back on its feet.” The tax would have a beginning date and an end date, similar to the recently passed airport tax. The airport tax yielded $36.2 million in eight months. At that rate, a 1% tax for two years would yield $108.6 million for the parish. This would allow the parish to purchase much-needed equipment and allow the parish to have an actual “working” budget, so that the parish can spend its monies more pro-actively rather than reactively.
The major part of the parish’s money woes is that there is less and less area in the Parish, since many of the municipalities have been annexing more and more areas of the parish, which decreases the taxable area that belongs to the parish. Some towns have used state and parish funds to build infrastructure outside of their city limits, and then annex the areas once businesses begin developing there. But the parish never gets reimbursed for the monies spent, and the town reaps the benefits. That’s just not fair, and verges on corruption.
I am also in favor of selling the Buchanan Street garage. This is another instance of poor leadership by allowing a parish-owned asset, which at one point was actually a source of income for the parish, to become defunct and condemned.
My preferred choice is the Acadia Design Driven Development proposal of a 10-story mix of affordable and market-rate housing with space for retail stores and a hotel, along with public parking.
The first phase on parish-owned property and two private parcels would include a 670-space parking garage for courthouse employees, residents, hotel guests and 56 surplus spaces, along with 130 residential units and space for a hotel and retail stores. The second phase, which would require obtaining four more private parcels of land on the block, envisions another 87 residential units and additional hotel and retail space. In my opinion, this is the best use of this property, and it also addresses the parking needs of downtown Lafayette.

Ted A. Richard
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

How will you use your position of influence to improve public education for children in our district?

I will work closely with the school board and its members in my district to make sure that we are putting education as a top priority for District 2. Education is so important today for our children. I respect all teachers and principals for what they do every day with our children. They are also role models and it’s important we give our school system the support that they need to do their job!

Kevin Naquin
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

Since I am not running for a position on the school board, all I can say is that I would support ANY measure to continue to fund education to the fullest. We have several under-performing schools in Lafayette Parish, mostly in the poorer areas of the parish. I firmly believe that raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would help to relieve those families suffering from poverty situations; thus affording those families more time to focus on their children’s education instead of worrying how to pay for their next meal.

Ted A. Richard
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

What changes to the parish budget and tax structure will you consider to stabilize finances, meet state mandated expenses and invest in parish infrastructure?

We must look at all of our parish expenses, state mandates and compare that to the revenue we are bringing in. I will work hard and look for ways to improve revenue without having to raise taxes. We need some type of revenue sharing in the future with the city of Lafayette and municipalities in regards to future annexation of unincorporated areas that will create future sales tax opportunity. I believe if this would have been done from the beginning of consolidation years ago, the parish would have been in better shape and could be taking care of all of our major issues in the parish today!

Kevin Naquin
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

My first action would be to raise the minimum wage in Lafayette Parish to $15 per hour. When people make more money, they spend more money. Which means more money in sales taxes.
But that’s not the only issue. Currently, the City of Lafayette has more in its reserve funds than the entire budget of the Parish of Lafayette. And during the 27+ years of consolidated government, the City has literally taken advantage of the Parish. For instance, as parish equipment became broken and unusable, the Consolidated Government would purchase new equipment, which then became owned by the City of Lafayette. So now, with a separated government, the parish will be forced to either purchase all of its own equipment all over again, or to rent that same equipment from the City. And remember, that with a $10 million+ budget, the parish has obligations for nearly 95% of that income, leaving very little discretionary money for emergencies and other expenses.
Currently, the Parish of Lafayette pays a 4 mill tax toward our budgeted expenses, yet the City and other incorporated areas of the Parish pay only 2 mills. I would suggest that the entire parish should be paying that 4 mill tax, and that the additional 2 mills collected from the cities should go directly to the Parish. This would give the Parish a constant source of income to make improvements to parish-owned assets, and maintain them properly.

Ted A. Richard
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

How will you improve access to community services, health care, housing and a better quality of life for the disadvantaged in our district?

I will work with our new elected administration to make sure that we are addressing and creating ways to improve this area for all of the parish.

Kevin Naquin
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

Many seniors and disabled persons have different needs. But they ALL need to be cared for. I would suggest better funding for our current bus system and perhaps add more routes that go into Scott, Duson, and Judice. Also, I would suggest that those persons who are disabled or over the age of 65 should be able to ride for free.
Now more on the “disadvantaged” persons.
We have a severe problem with our courts and jails. The district attorney’s office and the public defender’s office are not being properly funded. This causes overcrowding in the jail system, which is why Sheriff Garber requested more funding for corrections officers. We currently have over 500 persons sitting in our jails just waiting for a court date, since they cannot afford bail. I would increase the district attorney’s budget and work with the State to better fund our public defender’s office. The better that we staff those offices, the more our justice system will work in sync, and that alone could save money.
The three stems of the justice system should all work in unison. But you can’t have all the gears in place and not continuously oil the gears.
In addition, the Probation and Parole office is overwhelmed and understaffed. For this reason, many persons on probation or parole are released early for “good behavior.” This creates lost revenue for both the city and the parish.
In conclusion, raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour would also result in less crime, since people would be earning an actual living wage.

Ted A. Richard
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in our district?

I will make sure we are looking at drainage from a parishwide perspective. Looking at ways we can continue to improve on. One way is by going over our current policies and procedures in regards to development. We must look at all aspects and angles including dredging or spot dredging the Vermilion River. I have already supported investing in Drainage infrastructure with rededication of millages in recent years. Once again, on Oct. 12, the public will be able to vote on sending another 8 million to drainage infrastructure.

Kevin Naquin
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

I feel that the Lafayette City-Parish Government does a lot of “reactionary” spending as opposed to being pro-active in getting things done and maintaining its assets. Drainage is not a new problem, but LCG would have you believe that the drainage problem just “creeped up” on them. That’s very untrue.
Over the years, Lafayette and all of the surrounding towns have grown tremendously, and as the planning commission has set regulations for new developments, those already existing homes and structures become more susceptible to flooding. So our own government is partly to blame for the current flooding problem.
Now, about the drainage. Dredging the Vermilion River is the absolute right thing to do, but LCG has known about the build-up of sludge in the Vermilion River for many years, yet nothing was ever done about it. Now, suddenly, it is a top priority! This project should have been done many years ago, but it was never a “priority” so funding was directed elsewhere. This is a prime example not having the foresight to be pro-active in maintaining ALL assets of our city and parish. Yes, the Vermilion River is an asset to our community, and it should be treated as such!

Ted A. Richard
Parish Council District 2 Candidate

Parish Council District 3

Candidates

  • Jeremy Hidalgo
  • Jon Liprie
  • Josh Carlson
    ✅ Winner
  • Mike Davis

Your Questions,
Answered


How will you expand access to recreation, green space and quality of life programming in general?

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.

Jon Liprie
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

District 3 is blessed with an abundance of green space, including two first-class recreational facilities, and quality of life is very important to our community. I believe that all of our municipalities have done a great job of expanding access to recreation. I believe we, as a parish, need to partner with these individual municipalities and work together pulling in the same direction. I am a proponent of green space availability; however, this should only be a focus second to drainage, roads, and basic infrastructure. The quality of life in District 3 is one of the highest in the entire state and in Lafayette Parish, and I would be proud to represent the citizens of District 3.

Jeremy Hidalgo
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

These are all important programs. I will expand their access by allocating an appropriate amount of funding as the budget warrants. Two world-class parks have recently been built in my district. My family and I enjoy both of these parks.

Josh Carlson
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

Methods to improve our population’s access to green spaces and parks would obviously be to construct more parks and allocate more lots to green spaces, but funding these initiatives becomes the problem. In lieu of taxpayer-funded parks and green or open spaces, I will work with private and third sector parties through partnerships, trusts or sponsorships to fund land acquisition for parks or green spaces and the corresponding land development that comes with building such facilities. I would create public fundraising events and initiatives for things such as naming rights to different facility aspects, which is another proven method of park funding, and these are all similar methods to what Moncus Park is currently doing to fund its construction and development. A powerful disincentive keeping people from enjoying some of the parks and green spaces Lafayette already has and deriving health benefits from them is the presence of anti-social behavior, which I will ensure be curbed, or more ideally, eliminated by investing in additional staffing when necessary to ensure that our parks and spaces are properly maintained. One of the biggest challenges is identifying the socioeconomic groups within Lafayette Parish who are less likely to have access to such facilities, which is a challenge that I am more than willing to take head on, and bring these facilities to them. Identifying such disadvantaged groups requires detailed knowledge of local needs, cultural contexts, and attitudes, which are things a local candidate such as myself fully understands. Access to green and open spaces are critical for populations as research consistently shows a positive correlation between access to green or open spaces and personal mental and physical health, and improved personal health translates to less health problems and less taxpayer money that has to be allocated to address such health problems.

Regarding access to quality of life programming, as a member of the Parish Council I will actively work to improve the lifestyles of our citizens, parishwide, by fostering and promoting balanced lifestyles. “Quality of Life” can be a broad concept but is essentially the measure of an individual’s satisfaction in the aspects that are most valuable to that person. While this concept can be subjective as we all value things differently, we all have the same basic needs when it comes right down to it. Societal aspects such as access to transportation, safety, health, income, access to jobs, access to activities to maintain a healthy work-life balance, education, access to housing, quality of the environment in terms of pollution, access to equal opportunities, and community and civic engagement all factor into our overall quality of life as citizens. Improving our drainage situation will entice more citizens and businesses to move into our area since the threat of flooding will be no more, which in turn will improve our economy by means of our primary and secondary business sectors. An improved economy will lure in tertiary businesses that will provide a range of work-life balance offerings to enhance our citizens’ participation in cultural and entertainment activities. As a member of the Parish Council and utilizing my research into renewable energies technologies and the patents that I am generating as a result, I am here to diversify Louisiana’s manufacturing industries. I will do this by attracting renewable manufacturers that make up primary and secondary business sectors to construct their equipment such as wind turbines and solar cells in Louisiana, specifically Lafayette Parish. With I-10, the fourth longest and southernmost cross-country interstate highway, bisecting our state and crossing with I-12, I-20, I-49, I-55, and I-59 positions Louisiana as a prime staging area for transporting goods manufactured in Louisiana to the surrounding regions. Everything is connected, and if we want to provide good quality of life for our citizens, we must ensure that our foundation is one that promotes growth and opportunity for all.

Mike Davis
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

How will you use your position to improve public education for children in our district?

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.

Jon Liprie
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

I’ve spent the last 4.5 years as a school board member, working hard to make tough decisions that have improved our public education system in Lafayette Parish. This duty belongs in the hands of our elected school board representatives, not the Parish Council. However, as a parish councilman, I will indirectly be involved in decisions regarding public education in my district. With two children in public school and a wife who is a teacher in Lafayette Parish, I will continue to be an involved parent and husband. As a current school board member, I recognize the value of input from the community, so as a parish councilman I plan to give my input as needed.

Jeremy Hidalgo
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

As a member of the parish council, I will work with our members of the School Board to improve education and make sure we have excellent education for all kids.

Josh Carlson
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

While the Lafayette City and Parish Councils will not have direct authority over school regarding education and zoning, I believe that it would be my duty as a member of the Parish Council to improve our Parish’s educational opportunities. Our school quality and the level of success our children achieve affects all business and residents in our community, and this is a civic issue that I will actively pursue for excellence. Improving public education for our children starts with recruitment and retainement of quality teachers. Methods for accomplishing such a task could involve providing teachers with no-interest loans ranging from $20,000 – $30,000 to assist them in purchasing their first homes and should prove an effective method in helping school districts recruit teachers and enable them to become full members of their community where they teach, and this is something I would work personally with local financial institutions to make a reality. I would push for investments in preschool programs operated by the school districts, as quality childcare and early literacy are one of the most effective methods to improve academic success in school children by preparing them to learn before they even enter the school system, and I would further our utilization of Public Libraries to train child-care providers about reading development and the importance of early literacy, which would help to achieve this initiative. This next point should go without saying but keeping our schools safe is paramount, as are initiatives to reduce violence and mitigate potential risks via planning and preparation. I would accomplish this by partnering with our police and fire departments to drastically increase our schools’ effectiveness at mitigating and managing violent or catastrophic events. For schools that maybe have had their share of problems but are making improvements, it’s important to recognize these improvements and encourage these schools to continue with their improvement initiatives, and this is what I plan to bring to our city in spades. Far too often a school’s problems are highlighted while their accomplishments do not receive recognition, which can lower teacher moral. So by celebrating these schools that are making improvements helps to provide highly appreciated moral boosts for teachers, students, and families who are committed to becoming high-performing schools. Another very important aspect is encouraging parents to be active in their children’s education, as academic success in school children has been proven to be directly related to parental involvement, and I will actively seek out methods Lafayette can employ to encourage parents to get more involved in their children’s lives. I would strive to open and build strong relationships with our school district leaders help to create communication channels between city leaders and our school district leaders where ideas, insights, and innovations can be shared that help our children learn. Another, albeit more overlooked, method for improving public education for our children is for the city to support efforts to improve school facilities, and it is very easy to judge a community’s commitment to education by looking at the quality of its schools and school buildings. As a member of the Parish Council, I would champion school bond campaigns when investments in our facilities are needed due to things like leaking roofs, cracked walls, and air conditioners. As Parish Council Member for District 3, I would use my influence with civic leaders, my fellow elected officials, businesses, community organizers, and the media to ensure that education stays at the top of the public agenda to celebrate success and achieve results that benefit not only our students but our community as a whole.

Mike Davis
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

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.

Jon Liprie
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

I have a track record of fairness in my personal life and as a school board member and will promote equal opportunities and fairness for everyone.

Jeremy Hidalgo
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

As a member of the parish council, I will represent all people equally.

Josh Carlson
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

I am a firm believer that government has a responsibility to provide a range of basic services such as education, health, water supply, and sanitation that facilitate and promote human well-being and economic progress, and this is a belief I will bring into the Parish Council. However, ensuring effective and equitable public service delivery does not mean our city needs more resources; it simply requires our government to target its spending where money is needed most and ensure that the money spent is actually reaching the facilities where these public services are provided to the people. Otherwise we risk our money “getting lost in red tape” by being allocated to things such as administrative or other miscellaneous expenses that do not directly benefit the people. I will place increased accountability on our front-line service providers for responsiveness to the communities they serve and establish performance metrics to both monitor and motivate our public workers to ensure that our desired results are achieved.

Regarding improving opportunities for minorities, this begins with improving the quality of public education and our population’s access to it in high-risk or socioeconomically disadvantaged areas such as the Northside. Improving the quality of and access to public education in these areas is a feat that will require resource investments by our local government into these areas to facilitate this desired development. While areas such as the Northside are not in my district, their performance directly affects my district, so this is a topic I will take head on as our entire region will benefit from our general population having more access to quality education. Northside’s current economic situation is the culmination of generations of poor resource allocations on behalf of LCG and LPSS, and these effects are far-reaching.

Mike Davis
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

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.

Jon Liprie
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

Road improvements are one of my top priorities. I will consult with civil engineers to determine where the needs are the greatest. We would first need to examine parish revenue and determine how much funding is dedicated to the parish needs. Secondly, I will request funding for priority road improvements from the parish council. If funding is not available, I will work with our state and local leaders to identify potential funding sources. We should also make common sense decisions as it relates to the feasibility of some of the lingering projects.

Jeremy Hidalgo
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

I will work to find waste and inefficiencies in the budget and then reallocate those additional funds to roads and infrastructure. I will prioritize on importance and feasibility.

Josh Carlson
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

Regarding roads, the problem facing Lafayette Parish is the same for virtually all cities: Available funds will never be sufficient to service and maintain all roads simultaneously. As such, the solution is to maintain the “most important roads” first to ensure that public services continue to be delivered well. Determining the “most important roads” for Lafayette Parish to utilize its roadway budget optimally involves several aspects but will ultimately be the result of a prioritization methodology determined by a system similar to “Ranking by Multiple Measures” developed by the Washington State Department of Transportation. These multiple measures would consist of parameters such as a road’s Average Daily Traffic, the road’s Pavement Condition Index, Cost of Maintenance, Lafayette’s roadway budget, and cost-effectiveness of the maintenance project. An “optimal prioritization approach” focusing on cost-effectiveness to achieve maximum benefits per dollar utilized can be applied to Lafayette’s primary infrastructure systems, not just roads, and allow Lafayette to see parish-wide improvements using the current infrastructure budgets without having to raise taxes.

Mike Davis
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

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.

Jon Liprie
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

Storm water management in the parish needs to be looked at in a regional manner. I will communicate with the Army Corps of Engineers, our local congressmen, experts in the field of hydrology and others who have vast knowledge about how to address our drainage needs. I plan on implementing holistic polices that will both prevent and mitigate flooding. I will immediately begin working with my fellow council members and staff to identify re-dedication opportunities and wasteful spending. We must prioritize and get back to basics. This is exactly what I was able to do as a School Board member, and I’ll bring that same level of common sense to the Council.

Jeremy Hidalgo
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

As a member of the parish council, addressing our drainage needs will be my top priority. I will prioritize the maintenance of existing stormwater management systems as well as the creation of additional systems. I will also support the implementation of more stringent building standards and the oversight of those building standards.

Josh Carlson
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

Lafayette Parish’s drainage problems will require a multi-level solution. Some of these solutions can be addressed in the short term as they were caused by lack of oversight by the city in two ways: First, Lafayette engineers approving developments without performing proper impact reports intended to accurately depict how proposed developments affect their surrounding areas, which causes underdevelopment of drainage infrastructure causing flooding in existing neighborhoods located near new developments. Second, Public Works having one crew dedicated to drainage who have filtered out their higher-paid and experienced workers in favor of hiring crew members with substantially less experience for less pay in an effort to save money. This practice results in subpar work quality, such as culverts not dug out to proper grades that results in non-ideal stormwater flow characteristics, ditches that are uneven and result in standing water, etc. As such, I strongly believe that overhauling the Lafayette Public Works Department will remedy our backlogged drainage maintenance problems because as it currently stands our Public Works Department has approximately two years’ worth of open tickets to address, and I cannot allow this situation to persist. The first thing I will do in office is enact more oversight policies to ensure Lafayette engineers and Public Works crews perform their due diligence in ensuring the job is done right the first time. As far as developing strategies are concerned, there are two primary strategies assuming that our Public Works Department is successfully keeping our drainage ditches clear: increasing the number of both detention and retention ponds Lafayette has parish-wide and dredging the Vermilion. Regarding detention and retention ponds, while canvassing around Broussard and Youngsville I saw first-hand empty lots in neighborhoods that have flooded that could and should be purchased by the city or parish utilizing federal funding and converted into either detention or retention ponds depending on the area, as this much-needed water storage capacity could have made the difference between a home flooding in 2016 and not flooding. Regarding dredging the Vermilion, this is something that Must. Be. Done. We do not need a study to confirm if the Vermilion should be dredged, as the number of times the Vermilion has reached flood-stage in the last year is proof enough. My vision for the Vermilion is as follows: I would like to vastly expand the capabilities of the Bayou Vermilion District and have it become the Bayou Vermilion River Authority by the Louisiana Legislature, giving a board complete control over the river that flows through St. Landry Parish, Lafayette Parish, and Vermilion Parish out into Vermilion Bay. Congress would grant Congressional Approval to the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge the Vermilion River, then this Bayou Vermilion River Authority would obtain a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers allowing the Bayou Vermilion River Authority to dredge the river themselves, effectively giving Lafayette control over its portion of the Vermilion River. This way, Lafayette can clean up the river using federal money, which would create jobs related to cleaning and maintaining the river, and allow for the Vermilion to become an economic force for the city of Lafayette by means of increased river traffic and even possibly a Lafayette River Walk.

Mike Davis
Parish Council District 3 Candidate

Parish Council District 4

Candidates

  • John Guilbeau
    ✅ Winner
  • Roddy Bergeron

Your Questions,
Answered


What changes to the parish budget and tax structure will you consider to stabilize finances, meet state mandated expenses and invest in parish infrastructure?

What we do have is the ability to levy special taxes in order to raise funds for particular projects and needs. If left with needs that are expressed by the citizens and they favor a sales tax that is dedicated to a specific project with a sunset, then I will get behind the citizens in their request (Example: the airport tax). However, until it is proven otherwise, I hold the position that we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem; therefore, no new taxes. We shall devote our resources to things, parish infrastructure, that are valuable to the people — families first — the voice of the people must be heard.

It is clear that projects are becoming more complex. There is not a one-size-fits-all form of financing for them. It very much depends on the place, time and particulars of each project — we will need to be open and creative in our funding structure.

We shall develop a budget built on priorities and not needs alone that is accomplished through a needs assessment process!

The importance of a strong infrastructure is undeniable. It enables trade, powers businesses, connects workers to their jobs, creates opportunities for struggling communities — thus the need to invest in our infrastructure to provide for a thriving and prosperous community.

We must continue to grow and diversify our economy if we are truly committed to strengthening our parish infrastructure. A vibrant economy would do marvelous things to our revenue coffers!

In terms of state mandates, all state mandates shall be funded as required by statute as a priority.

John Guilbeau
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

As a realist, I feel that no options are off the table, though I do believe decisions should be well-informed and well-thought-out. Cuts, re-dedications, state/federal funding, and newly dedicated taxes are all ways to fix our budget. When you have homes flooding and roads deteriorating, it’d be unwise and simply impractical to say, “Sorry your house flooded, but I just don’t believe in [blank] to fix it.” Having that mindset causes stagnation, and real-world issues don’t get solved that way. The question should be, “What services do the people of Lafayette want (or don’t want)?” The people of Lafayette Parish need to be engaged in these discussions and given a seat at the table. Open forums, town hall meetings, and transparency with what is going on in government needs to be foremost. To reiterate, I believe in a tax-last approach for fixing budgetary issues, but I am open to considering all possible solutions that are the most effective, efficient, and fiscally realistic way to address the issues we face as a parish. The needs of the people come first, and I am up to the challenge of finding creative and conservative ways to meet those needs. Regarding state-mandated expenses, we should certainly fund those. If the legal experts indicate that we must pay those funds, then we will pay them. It would be unnecessary and wasteful to spend taxpayer funds on litigation that we can avoid, especially if we are legally bound to do so.

Roddy Bergeron
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

How will you promote sustainable economic development, that doesn’t add to consolidated government’s financial burden, and diversify the local economy?

We are no longer a single focused economy. We should not have to be reminded that government is informed by the business community and the citizens. We shall continue efforts to diversify our economy, and to do so, we must put our best foot forward: welcoming entrances into our parish/our city; clean up blighted property; repair our infrastructure, strengthen our education system; review codes, taxing structure; continue to promote our assets; continue to grow in the areas of health care, technology and in the promotion of small businesses.

Our economic strategies must embrace the four pillars of a healthy community: Infrastructure, Safety, Economy, and Education.

We need to be forward thinking in our actions — become those dreamers and no longer accept status quo. The oil industry was a drawing card and until we bring back the magnetism of our economic market, our housing market will remain stagnant!

Given the large number of vacant commercial buildings in our community, we need to engage our realtors in the collective promotion of those buildings for business development — thus, we place property back in service and those buildings do not become a burden to our community.

Citizen confidence in our economic market as well as trust in our government are worth noting.

I question: Are we over-regulated (from taxes, to construction, to licensing), is our infrastructure adequate, is access to credit sufficient, is our labor market flexible enough (single focused training), is the entrepreneurial environment encouraging enough to attract new businesses?

I sometimes feel that we are so focused on the public sector; and rightly so, we have not given sufficient attention to the private sector in our economic growth efforts. Thus, the importance of correcting those things that plague our communities so we can better focus on economic growth. I extend my appreciation to all who have come before us to make our community better — the footprints are laid — we need to build on that foundation. We have so much to offer culturally to our citizens and visitors — our heritage speaks volumes!

John Guilbeau
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

Currently, we are using business tax incentives to promote economic development, which I don’t think is a bad idea. However, if it is going to be sustainable, we need to have a framework and a detailed policy in place so that we can ensure fiscal prosperity, return on investment, and equality in diversification. As a governing body, we need to eliminate any grey areas for the incentives that we offer. For instance, having a well-thought-out policy that clearly delineates how business tax incentives operate will not only eliminate uncertainty and hesitation for the new business owner but will also ensure that we are fairly allowing all businesses to participate equally, thus encouraging a diverse local economy. Further, we also need to regularly assess whether an incentive is providing its return on investment. Are those businesses meeting the agreed-upon performance criteria to receive said tax incentive? If a business isn’t hiring the amount of people they say they will, then we need to draw back those tax incentives. Establishing business tax incentives and regularly assessing their overall cost-benefit will ensure sustainable growth and longevity for the businesses that choose to settle in Acadiana.

Roddy Bergeron
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

How will you make available more funding to repair and improve roads and other infrastructure in our district?

*Regain the trust and confidence of the citizens to invest in our crumbling infrastructure so that potholes are only faint memories.
*Inform and educate the public with full disclosure. We cannot burden the quality of our assets to future generations.
*Must budget for the operation and maintenance of an asset when it is constructed, which may lead to lower spending on maintenance later.
*Maintenance problem is the lack of a stable stream of funding sufficient to keep the system in a state of good repair — identify adequate, predictable funding.
*Encourage greater private-sector participation in road building and maintenance. It is imperative for the public and private sectors to rethink the way they do business. These forces while they are incredibly diverse, they do share an underlying need for modern, efficient and reliable infrastructure.
*Streamline regulatory review and permitting at all levels. We can’t afford anymore to be restrained by unnecessary regulations in the UDC that do not recognize the immediacy of the infrastructure crisis we’re facing.
*Use of competitive bidding on projects.
*Prevention is cheaper than cure; therefore, we must be aggressively proactive — deferred maintenance is not an option.

John Guilbeau
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

One of the issues we have is that we are building roads that we can’t afford to fix in 10-15 years. We also have bridges that are in desperate need of repair. My plan is similar to my response for drainage. We need to find any surplus or projects that are not needed, evaluate our current millages, figure out what we don’t want to pay for, reach out to our state and federal reps to bring our tax dollars back home, and, as a last resort, go to the taxpayers for a dedicated tax for road and infrastructure development and maintenance. With regards to any new taxes, however, we need to ensure they meet the SMART requirements, meaning tax measures must have goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time bound. That is a measurable way to ensure we have done our due diligence and are managing project-specific tax dollars appropriately.

Roddy Bergeron
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in our district?

There must be Regional partnering with surrounding parishes as well as within our own parish of Lafayette working from a master stormwater management plan.
Must identify sustainable revenue through collaboration with our local, state and federal partners to restore channels and rivers to original capacity. Proactive strategies may include the dredging of the Vermilion River, stormwater diversion projects, need for additional gates, pumps, creation of barrier reefs, revise stormwater management policies (when to open/close gates/locks), creativity (not status quo) in our thinking on how to better manage our stormwater.
Must be a collective effort with all partners coming to the table to include citizen engagement.
Our local parish efforts to improve water detention/retention, channel clearing, etc. must continue.
Complete drainage impact studies must be required prior to new developments.
Efforts to mitigate the stormwater matter cannot be accomplished in isolation of the whole!

John Guilbeau
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

Drainage needs to be made a priority. First, we need to comb through the budget and see if there are any existing projects or surpluses that we do not need. Second, we need to ensure that our millages are set correctly and that we are not overtaxing for government services. Third, we need to see which services the citizens of the parish do not want to pay for and rededicate any millages that we can. Fourth, we need to work with our state and federal representatives to bring some of our tax monies back to us. Lastly, we may need to look into establishing new taxes specifically dedicated to drainage; though new taxes, in my opinion, should be a last resort.

With regards to storm water management strategies, the new Lafayette Parish Council will not only need to work with other cities in our parish but also with other parish governing bodies, looking at what other areas are doing successfully and adapting their strategies to our area. We will also need to hear from the people of Lafayette Parish. Our locals are the ones who know their landscape the best and how changes will affect it. With regards to policy, we need to establish a preventative maintenance drainage plan as well as a policy that addresses how we go about making drastic changes to our storm water management plan. Any good plan needs a framework, so that solutions are well-thought-out, proactive, efficient, and effective—not only for the time-being but for the future as well. Establishing policies that are informed by experts in the field as well as local input will help us avoid temporary, reactive fixes that do not have lasting or beneficial effects.

Roddy Bergeron
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

How will you manage parish population growth and development patterns to address rising maintenance and infrastructure costs and mitigate flood risks?

Zip codes should not define one’s destination in our communities.
Barriers must be removed (bad bridges, substandard roads, lack of sidewalks) to allow citizens to easily move from within and out.
We must strive together to raise the living standards for our citizens.
Continue to diversify our housing options in our communities, with affordable housing at all levels of the economic spectrum.
Make public transportation more appealing for the regular riders as well as the business commuter by advancing cost effective solutions.
We must be innovative/creative in our decision-making when addressing projects with sensible solutions!

John Guilbeau
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

This is where having good maintenance plans and policies come into play. Good policies will provide the framework to address growth concerns. For drainage, we need to model what the flood zones will look like in 50-100 years and build to those FUTURE models. That way we don’t have homes that are 2 years old and flooding. We also need to look at past flood events to see where we are doing wrong. In the business world, we call those “postmortems.” When something goes wrong, we need to figure out exactly what happened, what we have been doing wrong, and what we are going to do to help prevent those issues from happening again.

With regards to rising maintenance and infrastructure costs, we need to make sure that we don’t saddle the taxpayers with the costs of a poorly built infrastructure. We need to ensure that the work done on roads and drainage are being completed and measure up to certain standards. If those standards aren’t holding up, we need to adjust them. Continual evaluation and improvement systems work, and it’s something I have been doing in my career for years. Things that worked 10, 20, 50 years ago may not work today, and we need to be aware of and open to evaluation and informed change.

Roddy Bergeron
Parish Council District 4 Candidate

Parish Council District 5

Candidates

  • Abraham ‘AB’ Rubin Jr.
    ✅ Winner
  • James Thomas

Your Questions,
Answered


How you will increase the presence of police patrols to combat violent crime and drug activity in our district?

Abraham ‘AB’ Rubin Jr. never responded.

I will make sure that I work with our first responders, particularly with our great city police department. My job as a legislator is to make laws that will support our police department. Making sure we can give them the necessary tools they need to keep our neighborhoods safe. We have to make sure we have competitive pay standards so we don’t lose them to other parishes or agencies. We need to work with their crime-stats division and use that data to make sure we are directing those necessary resources toward the areas in the district that need them the most. I plan to bridge the gap between our police department and all our neighborhood organizations to ensure that community policing is working at its best.

James Thomas
Parish Council District 5 Candidate

How will you promote sustainable economic development that doesn’t add to consolidated government’s financial burden, and diversify the local economy?

Abraham ‘AB’ Rubin Jr. never responded.

In order to tackle economic development in our district, we have to tackle crime also. Crime cripples economic development. It cripples our educational system. Major companies want to move their companies and employees where there are safer neighborhoods and discretionary income, which we have not had in District 5 in a long time. District 5 has a high crime and high poverty rate. I have a plan to work with our citizens to help empower them to get out of poverty and earn a better living wage. I will partner with our local school board to make sure I can provide any assistance as a legislator. I want us to follow models of other cities that have faced the same issues we are and bring those tools back to District 5 so we can use them and grow from them.

James Thomas
Parish Council District 5 Candidate

How will you fund road maintenance and improvement and determine the most needed and impactful projects?

Abraham ‘AB’ Rubin Jr. never responded.

One of the major ways that governments get revenue is in a sales tax and property tax. That is how governments are run. Every day working Americans contribute to this budget. When elected, I will find ways to fund these projects by looking at some of the bonds we currently have to see if we can free up some of this money for our road projects. I also want to work with the Acadiana delegation and chief lobbyists on contracts to secure capital outlay money to fund parishwide capital outlay projects. We have to look at how we are rating our roads and make sure that the rating system is accurate and sufficient in determining if that’s how we want to continue to determine what should be a priority.

James Thomas
Parish Council District 5 Candidate

How will you improve access to community services, health care, housing and a better quality of life for the disadvantaged in our district?

Providing a better quality of life for my constitutes is the main reason I’m running for office. We have to make sure that we are fighting for our fair share of the pie. I believe that an urgent care center should be built in District 5. I believe we have a need for it. Affordable housing is a great stepping stone for people who are disadvantaged. I want those services to be available to people when they are in need. But, at the same time, I want them to always want more out of life. I want them to see the options that are available. Having grown up in Holy Family Apartments, I know all about affordable housing. I saw that as a hand up and not a hand out.

James Thomas
Parish Council District 5 Candidate

Abraham ‘AB’ Rubin Jr. never responded.


How do you plan to tackle drainage and stormwater management issues in our district?

In District 5 we have pockets of areas that have to be addressed. We have to make sure that the storm drains are cleaned every so often so that trash and debris can be removed so that water is able to flow as efficiently as possible. We have to make sure that after heavy rain events, our Public Works team is out documenting those areas and seeing why we did have a back up of water.

James Thomas
Parish Council District 5 Candidate

Abraham ‘AB’ Rubin Jr. never responded.

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