Neal Bourque, lone early candidate for Gonzales council division E seat
In 2014, Neal Bourque said a change had to come within the Gonzales city council. So he and other concerned citizens created the SaveGonzales recall group of council members Gary Lacombe, Division C, and Timothy Vessel, Division E. With Bourque serving as the co-chairman of the SaveGonzales group many asked him early on if successful of the recall of the two councilmen would he run to fill one of the vacant seats. He initially said no, he wouldn’t. Well now, the time came where his group was successful in ridding the city of councilmen making “bad decisions.” And now the time comes where Bourque has decided to try his luck at running for the division E council seat.
“I was approached by a lot of good, concerned citizens along with the SaveGonzales group and other groups and they just asked me to step up and do it and I decided to do it,” Bourque said, who’s the lone candidate as of Jan. 20.
With qualifying dates not being until February 6, Bourque said although he’s the only candidate so far doesn’t mean he won’t work as if he’s not.
“We’re working everyday,” Bourque said. “We had a great response with my signs and actually had to order some more. We’re working like we’re in a race and which we are until Feb. 6 when we find out who qualifies.”
“In a democracy, people have a choice, if somebody jumps in we’ll keep working. If not, we appreciate the support we get from everybody and will go in and do the best we can,” Bourque said.
Bourque lifelong resident of Gonzales, and he grew up in his father’s business called Bourque Real Estate. He also worked in the chemical industry as well where he led groups of people. The experience in business and in leadership makes Bourque confident he can be a successful councilman in moving the City of Gonzales forward.
“I can work with people and work with teams,” Bourque said. “My goal is to properly promote public safety which includes police, fire department along with Emergency Medical Services, and just to ensure Gonzales is always open for business.”
As the co-chairman of SaveGonzales, Bourque played an active role in attending all of the 2014 Gonzales mayor and council meetings. So he knows about the budget woes the city faced last year.
As far as the budget goes, Bourque said from what he understands there is a “$13 million surplus right now.”
“The things [the other councilmen] were trying to cut back on, which was $150,000 roughly from police and fire department each, is just ridiculous,” Bourque said. “I believe the fire and police chief are good people and if they are going to ask for something, they know the background and I trust them with those decisions. With a $13 million surplus it’s a none issue. Give them the money they need to operate.”
Bourque said as far as the growth, the city has to make sure to balance budget expenses and income with infrastructure needs.
“We have to keep the money coming in, but with growth you have to balance what you’re going to grow with roads, sewer and everything so that’s the key,” Bourque said. “You can’t bring in a million homes and have no roads and sewer, there has to be a balance.”
Bourque added: “Caring and using some common sense goes a long way. That’s what I’m going to bring. I have a passion for the city and like to think I have a little common sense, and I’m going to use it to work with the mayor and council to move the city forward.”