Meet the Council: District 9 Councilman Todd Lambert
As the senior member on the Ascension Parish Council, District 9 Councilman Todd Lambert has been doing the people's business for nearly two decades. In his fifth term, Lambert is still pushing for parish-wide improvements that will improve the quality of life for citizens.
He remains true to the promises he made when he first took office 18 years ago, to make Ascension Parish the best place to live and work. It was the desire to help people that led Lambert to run for his first elected office. Now in his fifth term, that same desire fuels him today.
"I thought I could do some good by being a councilman and trying to help the people, and I always voice my opinion for what a majority of the people want," said Lambert.
Before going to work at the plant in 1996, Lambert worked in retail for 20 years. It was a great way to interact with residents, but it didn't provide the necessary benefits for his family. While working at Delaune's Do It Center in St. Amant, he heard customers talk about their concerns for the parish. It was those candid conversations that inspired him to try to implement those changes. Seeking to better himself and the parish, Lambert started his new career in the plant and on the council in the same year.
Even after holding an office as long as he has, Lambert said he is still an elected official, not a politician. While that can sometimes leave him as the lone standout on certain issues, he said his voting record speaks for itself.
"I have to live with my conscience after I vote," said Lambert. "I try to keep the politics out of it."
Lambert said he greatly enjoys his work on the council, and he's made some notable accomplishments over the years. Having served as chairman of the drainage board, finance committee, personnel committee, transportation committee, and recreation committee, Lambert is well-versed in ways to address the myriad of issues that come before the council.
One of the biggest concerns for the council is drainage. Lambert said it's something the council spends a lot of time on, as flooding problems continue to worsen in the parish. Rapid growth is one reason, and Lambert said it's important for the council to monitor development so the improvements are not undone by future growth.
"Drainage is our big issues, and it's going to be. It's ongoing because when you build all these slabs, it shifts the water around," said Lambert.
Experience is key in addressing drainage problems. Lambert said the council often relies on the expertise of the engineers in the parish. A good partnership with the administration and the Department of Public Works has all been essential, as Lambert said they are the experts who tackle the individual drainage issues day to day.
Implementing a parish wide sewer system is another top agenda item for Lambert and many members of the council. But just how to go about it has been an issue because "tax" is typically a dirty word in a red state. Lambert said getting one system for the whole parish will be a costly endeavor, and budget constraints limit what the parish can accomplish without additional revenue.
But Lambert said it could cost big bucks for homeowners even if their taxes do not go up. Hooking up homes to the new system could easily run up a bill costing residents thousands. User fees could also see a spike, costing customers more each month. Lambert said it's a tough situation, as the new system is necessary but unfortunately so is the money. He said the council is working on a plan to resolve the problem at little cost to residents, but it remains to be seen what that plan will look like.
Between working a full time gig as a supervisor at the Westlake Chemical plant and his work on the council, Lambert doesn't have a lot of extra time for hobbies. But that doesn't bother him. Lambert said he enjoys spending all his free time with the ones who matter most. Lambert's entire family still lives right here at home in Ascension Parish.
The youngest of 11 siblings, Lambert is a true family man. He said he doesn't need fancy toys or expensive vacations to be happy. Growing up in a big family gave him an appreciation for the simple things. He's content to stay home and spend quality time with his loved ones. Lambert has been married to his wife for 40 years, and the couple has three children - two girls and a boy. He also has five grandchildren, who keep him busy attending their various sporting events.
With a great career at the plant, a promising future in public service, and a loving family, Lambert said he's got everything he needs.
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