More recall petitions filed against Ascension Parish Council members

Staff Report
Ascension Parish Council members stand at the beginning of the meeting held July 1 at the courthouse in Donaldsonville. Pictured from left are Alvin "Coach" Thomas, Joel Robert, Corey Orgeron, Dempsey Lambert, Chase Melancon, Teri Casso, Aaron Lawler, and John Cagnolatti.

Recall groups have filed new petitions in an attempt to recall some of the 11-member Ascension Parish Council.

In recent days, documents were filed with the Secretary of State for the recalls of Aaron Lawler and Dempsey Lambert.

Lawler is serving his second term representing District 7 in the Prairieville area. Lambert is in his fifth term representing District 5 in the Galvez area.

The Ascension Parish Council's Aaron Lawler, who represents District 7, is shown in a November 2020 photo at the courthouse in Donaldsonville.

The two are among six council members targeted for recalls over recent weeks. Previously, groups have filed petitions against Chair Teri Casso and Corey Orgeron.

The other council members mentioned for recall over recent weeks are John Cagnolatti and Dal Waguespack.

Some residents have shared a similar refrain over the fast pace of development and the impacts on infrastructure and drainage. They have said both in public meetings and on social media that they feel their representatives have not been listening to them.

After a tense meeting to decide the moratorium on new developments and the council's vote to remove Parish President Clint Cointment as the head of East Ascension Drainage District, the recall groups organized a central meeting at the VFW Hall in Gonzales to discuss further action.

Sonny Edwards signs a document as the Recall Aaron Lawler group files its recall petition.

The Lawler recall group has been organizing signing events through the Recall Aaron Lawler Facebook page. After filing with the Secretary of State, they have 180 days to collect nearly 3,000 signatures from registered voters.

If one-third of registered voters sign and the parish registrar certifies the signatures, the decision would then move to the ballot.

The petition lists Charles "Sonny" Edwards and Jennifer Cross as the chair and vice-chair of the Lawler group.

Phillip Bellan is the chair of the Lambert recall group. Nicole Halford Fall is vice chair. Their group also needs almost 3,000 signatures by the deadline in late January 2022.