Parish President and Council sworn in

Leslie D. Rose @DvilleNewsie and @Editor_Citizen
Kenny Matassa is sworn in by Judge Tess Stromberg as his wife Selma holds the bible.

DONALDSONVILLE –It was a great day in Ascension Parish for 12 elected officials, including new Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa.

Matassa, along with his 11 member Parish Council, was sworn in during the Ascension Parish inauguration ceremony held Jan. 4 at the capacity-filled Ascension Parish Courthouse.

Newly elected Councilmen Bill Dawson, Aaron Lawler and John Cagnolatti, along with eight sitting members Oliver Joseph, Travis Turner, Daniel Satterlee, Dempsey Lambert, Randy Clouatre, Teri Casso, Todd Lambert and Benny Johnson were sworn in by Judge Marilyn Lambert.

Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan gave the welcome to his city, as well as reminded guests that Matassa is its native son. Father Cleo Milano gave the invocation and later Pastor Charles Brown and Donadlsonville councilman gave the benediction. The St. Amant ROTC presented the colors and Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley led the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Sean Matassa.

Ascension Parish Clerk of Court Bridget Hanna introduced dignitaries, which included former Gov. Edwin Edwards and later U.S. Rep. Garret Graves.

Among many jokes from longtime friends and public officials, Matassa was bid just as many good tidings and well wishes. In support of him were his father Joe, wife Selma, and children, including son, Nick, who was of the burn victims in the REG plant incident this past Sept.

District Attorney Ricky Babin served as the Master of Ceremonies and also introduced Kenny Matassa, just after State Rep. and former Gonzales mayor Johnny Berthelot served as keynote speaker.

In his keynote address, Berthelot joked that he had given Matassa a campaign slogan reflective of his short stature against his taller opponents. He later reeled his joke in to a heartfelt note.

"We are making history today as we swear in Kenny as the new parish president," Berthelot said. "We will probably never elect a shorter or smaller parish president, nor will we ever elect one with a bigger heart."

Matassa began his speech sharing a story of Berthelot, but later rounded into his goals as parish president, noting that there will be no secrets in parish government, as well officials will work as a team for the well-being of residents.

"It's been a long road from childhood in Donaldsonville to reach such an important leadership role, but rest assured, I'm ready for the challenge and anxious to get started," Matassa said.

"In the next four years, I will focus on service and leadership. There are many challenges ahead - we need infrastructure improvement, a parish-wide sewer system, technology upgrades," Matassa listed first among other immediate needs for Ascension Parish.

Selma Guillot Matassa held the bible as Judge Tess Stromberg later swore Matassa in as Ascension Parish's fourth parish president. He replaces four-term Parish Presidnet Tommy Martinez who did not seek re-election.