Local candidates face off on the issues

Lisa Yates @Lisa_editor

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

In a bid to persuade the populace that they are best suited to lead the city, local candidates for mayor, police chief and city council voiced their views on the issues.

Each of the candidates was asked to share some background information with voters and asked to respond to several questions. For example, they were asked what are the top three challenges facing the city right now and how they would handle these if elected. Also, the candidates were asked what they regarded as the city's three greatest successes and how they would improve on these. In addition, they shared their vision for the city for the next 10 years.

Finally, the candidates were given the opportunity to discuss anything else they felt was important to tell voters prior to Election Day.

What follows are responses from each of these candidates:

• Gonzales mayoral candidates Barney Arceneaux, the incumbent, and challenger Jeffrey "Jeff" Little.

• Gonzales Chief of Police candidates Sherman Jackson, the incumbent, and his challengers Duane Michael Carpenter and Glynn LeBlanc

• Gonzales City Council candidates in Division A: Kenneth "Kenny" Matassa, the incumbent; and, Willie Robinson; in Division B: Kirk Boudreaux, the incumbent running unopposed; in Division C: Ronald J. "Joe" Waguepack, the incumbent; and, Timothy Vessel, Sr.; in Division D: Terance L. Irvin, the incumbent; and, Claston Bernard; and, in Division E: John Cagnolatti, the incumbent; and, Gary J. Lacombe.

Mayoral Candidates – City of Gonzales

Barney D. Arceneaux (incumbent)

Age: 61

Political party: Democrat

Contact: (225) 647-5969

How long have you lived in Gonzales? 60 years

Previous political experience: Chief of Police (Gonzales) -1984-1992

Profession: Mayor/Administrator of City of Gonzales

Education:

a) Attended LSU

b) Graduate of FBI National Academy – 1983

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

a) Traffic

b) Continuous growth

c) Economy

How would you handle these issues if re-elected?

Over 10 million dollars has been invested directly on road improvement projects over the last four years. In the next year alone, $1.5 million has been dedicated to road overlays throughout the city which include intersection improvements to Cornerview and asphalt overlays to both East Worthey and Orice Roth roads.

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

Growth in the economy

• New state of the art Police Department Headquarters

• Kidz Cove Discovery Park

How would you improve on these if re-elected?

Continue to invest dollars in economic development, transportation improvements and recreational activities.

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

Continue to improve the quality of life for the citizens of our great city.

How will we get there?

Continue to invest dollars in economic development, transportation improvements and recreational activities.

What prompted you to run for re-election?

Passion to serve

Anything else you care to add?

No response

Jeff Little

Age: 49

Political party: Democrat

Contact: jlassociates@eatel.net or (225) 323-2601

How long have you lived in Gonzales? 41 years

Previous political experience: None. Not a politician

Profession: Sales/ Consulting

Education: East Ascension 1982. Attended Itawamba Jr College and Nicholls St

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

The top three challenges that I see facing our city in no particular order: Drainage, Traffic, and Beautification.

How would you handle these issues if elected?

In today's world and with all the resources and contacts our current mayor is proclaiming to have, for our residents to have homes getting flooded, does not rest easy with me. Of course not all of the issues are the City's fault. However after walking much of the drainage issues, we can do a much better job of keeping them clean of debris. They are in bad shape at the current time. We need to do a better of coordinating with the Parish to rectify these issues.

Traffic is getting worse by the day. I will work hard with state officials and moving on a master traffic plan.

Infrastructure is important to the life of a city but in order to approach outside investors, we must first have a city clean and one you would be proud to call home

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

Resources, People, Facilities

How would you improve on these if elected?

This city doesn't need another politician for four more years. It needs a leader who isn't afraid to make the tough decision and one who is not afraid to put the people first.

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

My long term goal is to get underground utilities here in Gonzales. I feel we are ready to study such a large undertaking. I also want a place for families to get out of the house and enjoy time spent together. I hate to see money leave here going to Baton Rouge.

How will we get there?

As far as the underground utilities go, I will form a committee to study this. I work in sales and meeting people and convincing them to do business with us is what I do for a living. I will go out and recruit only the best businesses for Gonzales

What prompted you to run for office?

I have always believed leaders are born and not made. The race is about two different people who have different directions they see the city headed. I am a public servant. I desire to work for the citizens of Gonzales.

Anything else you care to add?

I love this city. I love its people. You can't really appreciate all we have here until you travel around the state and look at what everyone else has. We are second to no one. I would appreciate your consideration on Nov 6 and it will be my life's honor to serve you.

Candidates for Gonzales Chief of Police

Sherman Jackson (incumbent)

Age: 42

Political party: Democrat

Contact: (225) 229-2951

Residence: Gonzales – 16 years, Lifelong resident of Ascension Parish

Previous political experience: Chief of Police, 2009-present

Profession: Law Enforcement, Chief of Police

Education:

• East Ascension High School, 1988

• LA Attorney General Command College, 2007

What are the top three challenges facing the police department right now?

• Growth of Gonzales

• Drugs

• Engagement, mentoring and safety awareness/ education for our youth.

How would you handle these issues if elected?

  • We are meeting the needs of growth and will continue to ensure our services do so.
  • Drugs infiltrate all facets of life. Gonzales Police Department has a deliberate vision of prevention. We will continue our interagency collaboration and will maximize resources with other agencies, specifically Ascension Sheriff's Office, DEA and State Police, to ensure we are a united front in the war on drugs.
  • There are several issues facing our youth, social networking, bullying and drugs. Through increased mentoring, resource and engagement we will provide our youth the tools they need to be safer and stronger.

What do you regard as the police department's three greatest successes right now?

• Brand new 19,000 square foot Police Department

• Restructuring of department to provide higher visibility and community engagement

• Decrease in Crime with over 100 drug arrest

How would you improve on these if re-elected?

By using the same model implemented four years ago. We will take the next step in my vision.

What is your vision for the police department for the next 10 years?

  • Focus on making sure people feel safe in their homes and going about their daily business by ensuring our services keep pace with our growth;
  • To strengthen our community through engagement, education and training;
  • To continue to engage our youth by providing mentoring, resources, awareness programs and education on those issues and challenges specifically facing our youth; and
  • Develop a safety and awareness system for our residents and business community, specifically one that will leverage our new department and technology.

How will we get there?

(See previous two answers)

What prompted you to run for re-election?

My passion for people, service and safety. The Gonzales Police Department, the vision I have implemented, is working. The strides forward we have made need to continue and will do so under my proven leadership.

Anything else you care to add?

Gonzales is growing and under my leadership the Gonzales Police Department has kept pace with our services. Crime is down 17 percent, with over 100 Drug Arrest. Gonzales has a new Police Department of which everyone can be proud. All with no new taxes and a balanced budget. Proven leadership will keep Gonzales a safer and stronger community.

Duane Michael Carpenter

Age: 36

Political party: Democrat

Contact: (225) 715-0966

Residence: Life-long resident of Ascension Parish

Previous political experience: No response

Profession: (See next response)

Education: I graduated from St. Amant HS in 1994 and have been active in the Gonzales Police Department for the last 24 years. I became interested in Law Enforcement at the age of 12 when I joined the Gonzales Police Department's Junior Police and Explorer Post. I stayed active with these groups until turning 18 and became a Reserve Officer with the GPD. I was hired full time in 2000 as a Patrolman and left this year to run for Chief. I was a Sergeant in the Uniform Patrol Division when I left.

I am a Past President of the Fraternal Order of Police and Mentor with Youth Challenge. I am the only candidate to be named "Outstanding Officer of the Year" by the Knights of Columbus and am also the only Officer in the 36 year history of the award to receive it 3 times. I have a passion for Law Enforcement and for people.

What are the top three challenges facing the police department right now?

I think the challenges facing the GPD are drugs, community relations, and training.

How would you handle these issues if elected?

I plan to add K-9's and more officers to the narcotics division to fight the war on drugs, have officers actively involved in our classrooms teaching kids about the dangers of drugs, bullying, and other important issues they may face. I will also work with residents, business leaders, and other law enforcement agencies to build trust and a working relationship back into our department. I will implement training with an emphasis on officer safety, integrity, ethics and community relations. Officers will be proactive in the neighborhoods enforcing speeding and noise violations.

What do you regard as the police department's three greatest successes right now?

No response

How would you improve on these if elected?

No response

What is your vision for the police department for the next 10 years?

I would like to see our department become better with community relations and up-to-date with technology.

How will we get there?

I will embrace community-based, problem-oriented and data-driven policing strategy that emphasizes integrity, accountability, problem solving techniques and a reliance on data.

What prompted you to run for Police Chief?

I decided to run because our department needs to be better and needs a leader who can hold everyone accountable and treat everyone equally. I won't settle for a good department, I want a great department.

Anything else you care to add?

I ask for your support and Vote on Election Day 11/6, I will be a working Chief who wears a uniform and drives a marked car. I promise an open, accessible Police Department and will reduce crime, fear, and disorder in your neigborhood while treating you with dignity and respect.

I am the right person, at the right time, for the right reason. I won't let you down as Police Chief. I can be reached at (225) 715-0966.

Glynn LeBlanc

Age: 54

Political party: Republican

Contact: (225) 268-0098, 1015 Eva Street, Gonzales LA 70737

Residence: Lifelong resident of Ascension Parish. Born and raised on Neal Street in Fairwood Subd.

Previous political experience: None

Profession: Lead Instructor for National Computer Forensic Institute operated by U.S. Secret Service.

Education: LSU, Business Administration, 1995

What are the top three challenges facing the police department right now?

Drugs – I know first-hand the problems drugs cause for families. Drugs also drive a lot of criminal offenses. Reducing the drug trade and related offenses will go a long way to reducing overall crime in Gonzales. I will also work with the court system to enhance rehabilitation opportunities for drug users.

Juvenile Issues – We need to allocate more resources to preventing juvenile offenders from being criminals.

Leadership – The leader of the department has lacked an overall vision for the department.

How would you handle these issues if elected/re-elected?

Drugs – I will put more resources toward the fight on drugs. I will seriously exam the need for two people on task forces that do little to fight the drug trade in the city limits. I think it is vital to continue co-operation with the Sheriff Office, but the officer assigned to the DEA may need to be reassigned to the city limits to take the fight to our streets where we will see a more immediate impact.

Juvenile – Again, more resources will be dedicated toward managing the juvenile offenders and hopefully keep them out of the court system and from being adult offenders and ending up in jail.

Leadership – I will use my 19 years of Law Enforcement experience along with my character and ethics to lead a department the city will be proud of.

What do you regard as the police department's three greatest successes right now?

When I am chief, the three greatest successes will be a structured, mandatory quarterly training program. I will reduce waste and mismanagement of the budget. I will also lead by example inspiring our officers to do the same and treat everyone with dignity and respect.

How would you improve on these if elected?

My main goal for the police department is a mandatory, quarterly training program that educates all officers. I will build a sense of teamwork and career development to make our police department one of the best in the state that will serve our citizens with pride and honor. I have done this for the U.S. Secret Service being the lead instructor for the National Computer Forensic Institute.

Nationally accepted techniques in Police Driver training for all officers.

Nationally accepted techniques in Active Shooter training for all officers.

What is your vision for the police department for the next 10 years?

As the city grows, management experience will be the key to managing that growth. I will use my 19 years of law enforcement and business management experience to allocate resources in a way that stops waste in the budget and makes sure that we are providing quality services to the city.

How will we get there?

Through sound management principles I will reduce waste and continues a high quality training program for all officers.

What prompted you to run for office?

As a city resident and 19 year law enforcement veteran, I strongly disagree with the way the police department is being run. Morale is low, officers have quit the department and we deserve better. I know that I can do a better job providing quality leadership and management that will make Gonzales PD the envy of the state.

Anything else you care to add?

I know what needs to be done and more importantly, I know how to do it. It will be an honor to be your next Chief of Police and I won't let you down.

Councilman Candidates - Division A

Kenneth "Kenny" Matassa (incumbent)

Age: 63

Political party: Democrat

Contact: Home (225) 647-4601, Cell (225) 715-1291, Email - kpmatassa@gmail.com

How long in the district? 36 years

Previous political experience: Gonzales City Council for 16 years

Profession: Ascension Parish Government -

• 19 years

• Gonzales City Council for 16 years

Director of Health & Utility Department

• Animal Control

• Liason for Ascension Parish Prison medical and maintenance department

• Coordinator of commodity food distribution in conjuction with Baton Rouge food bank

• Coordinator of quarterly employee blood drive in partnership with St. Elizabeth Hospital

Education:

• Donaldsonville High - Graduated 1967

• Delgado Jr. College attended 1969-1970

• Continuing education with Ascension Parish Government

• Continuing education with City of Gonzales

• Certified with Louisiana Ethics Training

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

• Transportation

• Drainage

• Growth

How would you handle these issues if elected/re-elected?

• Work with the Mayor and Council to finalyze our 20 year transportation master plan

• To continue working with East Ascension Consolidated Drainage

• Work with Ascension Economic Development to move forward with growth and keeping our small town values

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

• Infastructure

• Economic Development

• Quality of life

How would you improve on these if re-elected?

• Working with city, parish, state and federal officials to coordinate our views and goals

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

• To maintain Gonzales as the hub for Ascension Parish

How will we get there?

• Hard work and coordinated efforts!!!

What prompted you to run for re-election?

• My love of Gonzales and it's residents, also a passion to be a public servant

Anything else you care to add?

I will continue to keep God, family and community first in my life!

Willie Matthew Robinson I

Age: 34

Political party: No Party

Contact: (225) 644.9628

How long in the district? 7 years

Political experience: None

Profession: Local Real Estate Broker

Education: Northwestern State University

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

Youth, Drainage, & Roads

How would you handle these issues if elected?

Youth- I would like to collectively work toward providing a facility with mentors, tutors, extra curricular activities, and resources to help shape tomorrow's community leaders by pulling together as a community and better supporting parents and teachers. I would also like to encourage local businesses to become a part in helping our youth through sponsorships. The school ratings in our community are some of the lowest in our district and I believe that it would take these types of programs to help the kids of our community reach their highest potential.

Drainage - I will encourage a continuous maintenance rotation to ensure the ditches are clear of tall grass and debris, so the water could flow more efficiently.

Roads- I will work collectively to come up with a solution that involves traffic flowing at a steady pace.

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

Growth & Business

How would you improve on these if elected?

Growth - I plan to help Gonzales continue to be prosperous by investing in the youth. I believe that if we invest in the youth we could increase the school ratings and increase the likeliness of families choosing to live in the City of Gonzales.

Business – Encourage incentives for small business owners within our community.

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

My vision for the City of Gonzales for the next 10 years is to see a path of prosperity for all. "Together We Are Better"

How will we get there?

We will get there by working together and being dedicated to serve the citizens of Gonzales. Keeping the people first is a priority.

What prompted you to run for office?

I have a heart for people and this city. I truly believe that God has placed me here with purpose and I am ready to fulfill my purpose and serve the great citizens of Gonzales!

Anything else you care to add?First and foremost I want to thank God for this opportunity. These past few months have been truly amazing! Going door to door with my family and seeing smiles on people's faces is what life is all about. Once elected City Councilman of Gonzales I am going to bring forth family values and love to this community. God bless you and God bless the city of Gonzales. Thank you.

Councilman Candidates - Division B

Kirk J. Boudreaux (Re-elected to second term as Gonzales City Council, Div. B (unopposed)

Age: 54

Political party: Democrat

Contact:

Email: ascmov@eatel.net

Cell phone: (225) 266-7222

Home address: 1804 East Bocage St., Gonzales

Years in District: Life long resident of Ascension Parish and a citizen of the City of Gonzales for the last eight and a half years.

Previous political experience: Entering second four year term as Gonzales City Councilman

Profession: Business owner

Education: 1976 Graduate of East Ascension High School

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

The challenges inherent in the economic growth which Gonzales has been fortunate to experience in recent years, i.e. traffic, public safety and zoning issues.

How would you handle these issues if re-elected?

I will continue to work with other elected officials and the citizens of this community to deal with these issues responsibly.

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

Improved infrastructure – i.e. new City Police Station and new water tower; decreasing crime rate; and, the attraction of new businesses and jobs to the City of Gonzales.

How would you improve on these if re-elected?

I will continue to work and cooperate with all parties on the issues.

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

Continuing to build a quality community for our children and their children.

How will we get there?

All citizens working together.

What prompted you to run for re-election?

A desire to better my community.

Anything else you care to add?

It has been an honor to represent the citizens of Gonzales for the past four years and I look forward to serving them in the future.

Councilman Candidates - Division C

Ronald J "Joe" Waguespack (incumbent)

Age: 65

Political party: Republican

Contact: (225) 571-0556, wagpack@aol.com

Years in district: 65 years

Previous political experience: Councilman since July 1, 1984

Profession: Retired, Louisiana Farm Bureau, June 4, 2012, 23 years with company

Education: LSU, BS Degree, Bus. Admin, 1969, graduate of Louisiana National Guard Officer Candidate School, Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, 1971

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

Traffic, drainage, public safety.

How would you handle these issues if re-elected?

Traffic is a by product of growth through economic development, and turn lanes, roundabouts, and new streets need to be addressed along with work by the state on their highways, along with federal roads in our city. Dranage in South

La. is always a big issue, and we must continue drainage work with the parish to clean out ditches, bayous, and enhance the pump system. Public safety includes many things, illegal drugs, speeding, crime, fire protection, and others. We must continue to fund our police and fire departments, continue to educate, continue to teach and inform our residents of these issues.

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

Financial strength, economic development, our employees.

How would you improve on these if re-elected?

Continue to budget wisely, pay excellent wages and benefits to hire good people as the budget and economy allows. Continue to push for economic development.

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

Wise growth, diverse economy, a community that is a great place to work and raise our families.

How will we get there?

Honest, hardworking approach to sell Gonzales as the place to live and the place for investment opportunities.

What prompted you to run for re-election?

Desire to make things better and to continue the work of some great people who preceeded me.

Anything else you care to add?

Born and raised in Gonzales, love this city, and love working to make it better.

Timothy Vessel

Age: 46

Political party: Democrat

Contact: (225) 368-6369

Years in District: 46 years

Previous political experience: None

Profession: Entrepreneaur, CEO of Tim Q Rental, Inc.

Education:

East Ascension High School

• LSU Veternarian School Program

• U.S. National Guard – 3 years

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

Traffic, drainage & recreation

How would you handle these issues if re-elected?

Study traffic, drainage and recreation concerns

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

• Economic developmemt issues

• Quality of life issues

• Jambalaya Park

How would you improve on these if elected?

Continue to invest in our infrastructure, street, drainage, utility services, recreation, beautification, and public safety

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

My vision is to continue managing growth and to establish a recreational complex.

How will we get there?

By working with oother government agencies to establish a recreational Master Plan.

What prompted you to run for office?

For 16 years I was working for the Public Works Dept. and discovered some issues, so I decided to run for the seat.

Anything else you care to add?

I would like to bring back animal control in the city of Gonzales and better the mosquito control and to keep from contracting it out.

Councilman Candidates - Division D

Terance L. Irvin (incumbent)

Age: 47

Political party: Democrat

Contact: Office (225) 647-7566

How long in the district? 47 years

Previous political experience: Gonzales City Council incumbent

Profession:

Environmental Manager for Ascension Parish Government &

Property manager for Irvin and Associates L.L.C. (Family-owned business)

Education:

• Attended Southern University

• A & M College in Baton Rouge; studied political science to 1988

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

• Traffic control and safety

• Street and drainage

• Public safety

How would you handle these issues if re-elected?

• Currently the city is proposing a Transportation Master Plan to address the future traffic control concerns

• Continue drainage maintenance with an erosion control plan

• The city anong with the police dept. built a $4.7 million police station to help any future public safety concerns. I would encourage the police dept. to establish more public safety outreach programs with our youth.

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

• Its outstanding citizens

• Building a utility plant

• Investing in a new fire station and police station

How would you improve on these if re-elected?

• Investing in the technology used to operate our utility plant, firestation and police dept. to advance its services.

• I would improve on the city's communication with its citizens by hosting annual community meetings to promote citizen involvement

• Invest in the technology that would advance our utility and public safety services into the future

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

My vision for the city of Gonzales is to have helped expand our recreational programs for youth and adults. Worked with our school system to continue to equip our children with a quality education. Create more job opportunities to enhance our citizen's quality of life.

How will we get there?

We will reach our goal by establishing a plan of action that includes citizen involvement, and the public and private sector.

What prompted you to run for re-election?

Wanting to make a difference in the lives of the citizens of Gonzales.

Anything else you care to add?

I would like to thank the citizens of Gonzales for allowing me to serve them for the last 12 years. And I humbly ask them if they would continue to support my leadership by voting for Terance L. Irvin for Gonzales City Councilman #69. Thank you and God bless!

Claston Bernard

Age: 33

Political Party: Democrat

Contact: (225) 454-7184

Years in District: 3+

Previous Political Experience: None

Profession: Entrepreneur (Owner of Quandamn Inspection LLC ) Home Inspection Company

Education: LSU. Degree in Human Resource MGT. 2002 Graduate.

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

1. Traffic Congestion

2. Insufficient after school programs

3. Economic and infrastructure development

How would you handle these issues if elected?

Traffic Congestion.

In order to help ease our traffic burdens we need a comprehensive plan to deal with issues especially along HWY 30 and 44. My dream would be to see HWY 30 double lanes with raised median and roundabout at every signal from St. Landry road to Burnside. I would also like to see turning lanes added to Burnside all the way to airline HWY and the traffic signals synced to ease traffic burdens along 44. Furthermore, we need a left turn lane from Burnside unto Airline HWY and lastly, I would love to see a loop created with Burnside, Corner View and HWY 30.

Insufficient after school programs

Encourage city to put in place a Boys and Girls club. According to statics by the Boys' and Girls' clubs, three out of ten children will not graduate High School on time, between 3-7 p.m. juvenile crimes escalates. Nationally, 15.1 million children are left unsupervised and another 3 out 10 are obese or overweight. We are seeing trends moving this way in our City. With a boys and girls club, 90 percent of kids active in programs graduate or earn a diploma or equivalent and another 80 percent report positive impact on health and well-being.

Economic and Infrastructure development.

Seeing how HWY 30, 44, the railroad, the I-10 and the Mississippi River has helped us grow in the past, it is imperative that we continue to utilize these resources in marketing our community. Gonzales is between two of Louisiana largest cities, Baton Rouge and New Orleans, the traffic between both cities daily is about 52,000 vehicles per day. We can set up our community to fully capitalize on the traffic going through. Also, we should use our location attract to notch businesses to locate here. Not many cities have the location we have to offer.

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

1. The unity of the people

2. The churches

3. Economy

How would you improve on these if elected?

A community's strength is in the people. I would encourage relationship between the churches, residents and businesses. By supporting local charities and causes, businesses can build a stronger relationship with the community, thus creating customer loyalty while increasing revenue base.

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

In ten years I want Gonzales to be a top 'Heavy Middle Weight City' in this country. 70 percent of the country's GDP comes from middle weight cities. I want Gonzales to be one of these top cities. Also, I would like to see in 10 years more of our higher educated graduates staying here due to quality high paying jobs and not going off to other states or cities making them rich. Also, I would love to see more leisure activities for families, a more pedestrian friendly city with a great transit system to get people who do not own vehicles to and from work.

How will we get there?

We will get there by having a short tern and long term plan for growth and economic development. Investing in our infrastructure, increasing our water and sewer capacity, attracting top notch companies that will add to our revenue base, thus keeping residents tax burdens low.

What prompted you to run for office?

I have travelled to many places all over the world and none have captivated me like the city of Gonzales. The genuine warmth of the people, its location, the opportunity to raise a family here, to help this city continue to go forward so that my children and yours will continue to have a wonderful city to call home.

Anything else you care to add?

I am married to Quantez Bernard

2002 NCAA Champion

Four time SEC Champion

2000 and 2004 Olympian

Councilman Candidates - Division E

John Cagnolatti (incumbent)

Age: 64

Political Party: Republican

Contact: (225) 644-5273

Years in Gonzales: 54 years

Previous Political Experience: City Councilman since 2009

Profession: Business Development for Industrial Contractor

Education: Southeastern Louisiana University, B.S. - Marketing, 1970

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

1. Traffic 2. Drainage 3. Growth

How would you improve on these if re-elected?

1- Work with LA-DOTD and address Hwy 30 traffic; and other city traffic congestion.

2 - Work with required agencies to move storm water out of the City effectively.

3 - Develop a 5-year plan implementing "Smart Growth" for the entire City, including infrastructure, services and public safety.

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

New Police Station, Roadway Improvements, Water & Sewer Improvements

How would you improve on these if re-elected?

If re-elected, I will keep pace with growth within all areas of city services and stay ahead of potential problems.

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

The hub for commercial and light industrial businesses in the high-growth corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

How will we get there?

Work closely with federal, state, and parish officials and continue to position Gonzales for positive "Smart" growth.

What prompted you to run for re-election?

I am running for re-election because I want to continue to serve our citizens and give back to a community I truly love. I was raised here, I raised my children here and they are raising their children here. There's no better place to live and raise a family; let's make it even better.

Anything else you care to add?

I have never taken any campaign contributions; I won't be influenced by "special interests"; I'm a fiscal conservative and I will spend your tax dollars wisely, representing you, the people of Gonzales with leadership, vision, integrity and results. I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 6 and I pledge that I will continue to support and encourage programs, projects and issues which will have a positive impact on the "quality of life" for everyone who calls Gonzales home.

Gary Lacombe

Age: 54

Political party: Democratic

Contact: PO Box 725 Gonzales, LA 70737

How long in the district? 30 years

Previous political experience: Prior candidate for City Council in 2008

Profession: Communications Manager for International Oil and Gas Company

Education:

Louisiana Tech University – Bachelor of Science – Mechanical Engineering – 1980

Louisiana Tech University – Master of Science – Mechanical Engineering – 1982

What are the top three challenges facing the city right now?

Traffic congestion

Drainage

Aging infrastructure

How would you handle these issues if elected?

Develop a strategic plan that allocates existing funds to solve the highest congestion points first then continue to improve traffic flow "pinch-points" as funds are available.

Begin a multi-year refresh of our infrastructure.

What do you regard as the city's three greatest successes right now?

Competitive sales tax rate held to 8.5 percent

Quality of life is family friendly

Budget surplus via substantial revenue streams due to the huge petrochemical industry in our area

How would you improve on these if elected?

Find ways to keep our sales tax rate flat and grow our business enterprises which will drive more sales of goods and services.

What is your vision for the city for the next 10 years?

Major revisions to Interstate 10 interchanges at both exit #177 and exit #179

Improved drainage network

Larger business and retail footprint

How will we get there?

Budget scrutiny plus Federal Business Grant funding.

What prompted you to run for office?

I welcome the opportunity to give back to the community where I live and have a positive impact.

Anything else you care to add?

We live in the greatest country in the world! By the sacrifices of many before us, every person has the right to cast their vote. God Bless America.