Loar, Cointment address parish issues as president race kicks off

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
Cointment

The Ascension Parish Voter’s League hosted a political discussion on Monday at the Do Right Baptist Church in Gonzales for candidates running for office to serve Ascension Parish, and surrounding areas.

Candidates Clint Cointment and Chris Loar represented to be President of Ascension Parish, vote scheduled for 2015.

In answering, Loar was able to highlight things he was able to help achieve as a parish councilman, and discussed some things the parish could do to improve. While Cointment, stood firmly on not raising taxes, but working well with industry and education to make sure the youth can deserve the jobs to keep them in Ascension Parish.

“It’s important that we work with the school board to ensure that as a parish government role know what jobs are out there and what jobs are available,” Cointment said. “So that the school system can divert and direct the right path for these jobs.”

“I’m running on three principals: responsibility, transparency and accountability in parish government,” Cointment said. “Let’s show the people where our tax dollars are going.”

Cointment then sited specific displeasure with the parish’s decision to “bail out” last year’s Hot Air Balloon festival held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, “and the ask for a tax” he said referring to the council’s decision to put the 5 mill tax on November’s ballot to fund potential recreation improvements throughout Ascension Parish.

“It’s very difficult for me to accept that,” Cointment said.

As Cointment said it is hard for him to be “satisfied,” Loar followed and said he’s not just talking the talk, “I’m walking the walk day in and day out.”

“All of that stuff sounds great and I’d love to be able to stand hear and say I’m never going to be for raising taxes, but certainly it’s a last resort,” Loar said.

“There are facts in the matter,” Loar said. “We have a billion dollars worth of roads and sewer improvements, a billion dollars.”

Loar said the only way to address that is with a tax in order to continue progressing the parish at the rate “I think people want to keep progressing at.”

As far as the two things, specifically asked, that could be better in the parish government: technology and customer service.

“I’m all about improving things,” Loar said. “Those are just two, but I could go on and on.”

Loar said the parish is managing the finances very well and added it is transparent, citing review of expenditures at every monthly finance meeting.

Candidates for the two vacant spots on the 23rd Judicial District Court bench, Jason Verdigets, O’Neil Parenton, and Bruce Unangst, all attended to discuss what they could do if voted to serve the district, which includes Ascension, St. James and Assumption parishes.

“Unfortunately in a judicial race it’s not a whole lot of sexy or flashy answers we can give you because we are limited in what a judge can do,” Verdigets said, who is campaigning against Parenton for Division A judgeship. “I think if anybody tries to tell you more than that they are misleading you.”

Both Verdigets and Parenton are assistants for District Attorney Ricky Babin, where Verdigets is a drug prosecutor and Parenton serves as Ascension Parish Attorney.

Unangst is the lone campaigning for the Division C post currently occupied by Judge Guy Holdridge.