Meet the Council: District 6 Councilman Randy Clouatre
If there is anyone truly engrained in the community of Ascension Parish, it's District 6 Councilman Randy Clouatre. Now in his third term, Clouatre joined the council a decade ago at a time when there was dissension between the council members and the administration, a sentiment many council members have echoed. He said he wanted to help bring respect and order back to parish government.
"We just didn't feel like the tones, the attitudes that were brought forward going into the meetings, was the way that our area wanted to be represented," said Clouatre.
One of Clouatre's passions on the council is major drainage. Having served as chair of the drainage board, he puts those skills to good use in finding ways to address drainage issues throughout the parish and even the state as a whole. Clouatre is also a member of the Restore Louisiana task force commissioned by Governor John Bel Edwards following last year's historic flood.
"We've worked hard and tried to get some major regional things in place that would stop the flooding," said Clouatre. "We can do some local stuff, but we can't stop what happened in August of 2016 with local fixes. It needs to be regional."
Clouatre has held public meetings to give flooded homeowners a forum to express their concerns. He has also worked to improve the National Flood Insurance Program. He was the only person from Ascension Parish to head to Washington, D.C. in 2014 and to lobby for the sustainability of the program. A flood victim himself, he certainly understands the frustrations many residents are feeling about the federal response to the flood.
Clouatre works hard to make sure everyone is heard. He said for the most part, his constituency doesn't head to the podium for three minutes at a council meeting. They pick up the phone and call him. He said he gets to know voters the same way he gets to know anyone else, by sitting down and having a conversation. He takes his responsibility to his constituents very seriously, and he said he's thankful they've given him the privilege of representing them at the parish level.
"I've had all kinds of views in life, but when I got elected, my personal opinion means nothing," said Clouatre. "I need to represent the opinion of the majority of the people."
As impressive as Clouatre's accomplishments are, his father was equally as remarkable. Arthur Clouatre Sr. was a sharecropper who went on to be a paratrooper in World War II. The soldier survived multiple gunshot wounds in battle and came back home to become a millwright and heavy equipment mechanic. Arthur Clouatre was even a freedom fighter who pushed for equality during the civil rights movement. Randy Clouatre said his father raised him and his siblings to be independent thinkers without prejudice.
The moral compass that Clouatre developed at home has helped him become a successful elected official. He joked that the Ethics Board can't possibly be any harder on him than his own family, who plays a big role in holding him accountable. He joined the council to help people, and voters can be sure he hasn't forgotten why he ran in the first place.
"Your position is not as important as the reason you're there," Clouatre said.
Growing up in a family where anything and everything was open for discussion set the stage for Clouatre's public service later in life. He recalled getting together at his mother's house on Friday night's to talk about everything from that evening's football game to politics. He values people's opinions and has an open mind to hear the other side of any issue. He said one of the most important things he learned growing up is that other people have feelings, and they usually have a reason for having the opinions they hold.
"I'm always 100 percent sure that someone on the other side of the table has something valuable to add," said Clouatre. "I'm not the Wizard of Oz, and I don't have all the answers."
Clouatre has five children of his own and five grandchildren, to whom he passes the same values his parents taught him as a child. Like his own siblings, Clouatre's children have grown up to be successful in their own ways, guided by the morals only a wholesome upbringing can provide.
In his free time, Clouatre enjoys spending time with his family and enjoying life with his wife of 27 years, Regina. They like going to concerts like the Molly Ringwalds, an iconic 80s cover band, and having as much fun as possible because, as he said, life was made to be enjoyed. One thing's certain, Randy Clouatre is definitely living life to the fullest.
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