Gonzales Council, constable, JP seats contested in Oct. 4 election

Wade McIntyre

In addition to electing a new mayor for the first time in 24 years and a police chief, Gonzales voters will go to the polls Oct. 4 to decide the fate of three seats on the city council.

The races will be among many throughout Ascension Parish this fall.

Prior to the election, City Councilman Ronald “Joe” Waguespack retained his seat in Division C, running unopposed. Also, newcomer John Cagnolatti also ran unopposed in his bid for the seat vacated by retiring Division E Councilman Alvin “Bully” Dragg.

In Division A, 12-year Councilman Kenny Matassa, a Democrat, is challenged by Brad “Plug” Lavigne, also a Democrat. Lavigne ran for the District 10 seat on the Ascension Parish Council last year, won by Dennis Cullen.

Matassa said in his official announcement he believes his experience as a councilman is important due to decisions by Mayor Johnny Berthelot and two city councilmen to not seek re-election. He cited Jambalaya Park, the Olympic-size swimming pool and other recreational upgrades made during his terms as examples of city progress during his terms.

In his announcement. Lavigne said he won the city of Gonzales during the parish council election and that it shows the people of Gonzales agree with him on issues facing the parish. He said he feels the city needs to keep growth in check while catching up on infrastructure needs.

The Division D contest finds incumbent Terance Irvin facing opposition from Harold Stewart for his seat. Both men are registered Democrats.

Irvin did not release an official announcement of candidacy to The Weekly Citizen.

Stewart is owner of Stewart’s Barber Shop, and has worked in the city for a number of years. He said in his announcement that, if elected, he would establish a form of public media to increase awareness of important issues to the city.

In Division B, three Democrat candidates are vying for the seat held by Councilman Larry Savell, who is not seeking reelection. Kirk J. Boudreaux Jr., Ralph Delatte and Gary LaCombe are running for the seat.

Boudreaux, a local businessman, said in his official announcement he will use his business experience to make sure city tax dollars are invested wisely.

Delatte, who is owner of Riverside Barber Shop in Gonzales, said in his announcement he will support programs to improve traffic including turning lanes, traffic lights and camera monitoring of major intersections.

LaCombe did not release an official announcement to The Weekly Citizen.

Also on election day, parish voters will elect a constable in the 2nd Judicial District to replace Steve Juneau, who is not running for reelection. George “G.W.” Anderson (D-Gonzales), Richard James (D-Gonzales) and Danny P. Thibodeaux (R-Prairieville) are running for the seat, which represents the Gonzales and Prairieville areas.

In the 3rd Judicial Court, which encompasses the St. Amant area, incumbent Jamie Frederic-Braud faces opposition from John C. Hebert and Karen Tomlinson for the Justice of the Peace seat. All three candidates are registered Democrats.

Frederic-Braud said in her announcement that she has served the community with a full service/full time/fully automated office. She said small claims court limitations were increased in the past legislative session to $5,000, and that she will continue to assist residents in collecting money owed in small claims court, eviction proceedings and garnishments.

In his announcement, Hebert said he has more than 35 years of public service, including 15 years in the fire service and more than 20 years in law enforcement. He said he would dedicate himself full-time to the job and make his services available for emergencies and in early evening and night hours.

Tomlinson, who was recently named Member of the Year of the St. Amant Volunteer Fire Department, and previously worked with the 3rd Justice Court’s Justice of the Peace Office, said in her announcement she would bring community insight and dependability to the office if elected.

In the 3rd Judicial Court, Constable James E. LeBlanc was unopposed in his reelection bid, as was 2nd Judicial District Justice of the Peace Dean Smith.

In the 1st Judicial District, which presides over the parish’s west bank, Justice of the Peace Andrew Falcon was elected without opposition, as was Constable Andrew “Banana” LeBlanc.