Karen Gaudet St. Germain – A strong leader with deep Iberville roots

PAM BOESCH Contributing writer

PLAQUEMINE - Many people may already know Karen Gaudet St. Germain, since she has served as State Representative of District 60 for Assumption and Iberville Parish since 2003.

What some might not know is how deep her roots run in Iberville.

When St. Germain heard that she was chosen as one of the Women of Iberville, she said, "I'm so honored to be considered a real part of Iberville. My dad, oldest of 10, was originally from Bayou Pigeon so my roots run deep here. My devotion is also deep and I am truly humbled. This honor makes me feel like I am truly a part of Iberville Parish."

St. Germain was born in Klotzville, a small settlement near Pierre Part to the late Gibson and Alzie Gaudet. She was the youngest of four children.

"I think my whole family grew up with my dad's love for people," St. Germain said. "I think I caught the bug and swallowed it. My dad was the first fire chief in Pierre Part. At four years old, I went with him to fires, emergency calls, medical emergencies and door-to-door collections.

"He taught me early that life was all about family and community commitment."

Her mother, Alzie, was a stay at home mom but was constantly working in the home and for the community as well.

"My parents were devoted to helping people and I have always felt the need to help since I was young."

After graduating from Assumption High, she married her husband of 36 years, Kenneth St. Germain. Kenneth's family founded the Pierre Part store in 1911. Between helping in the family business and raising her three sons, Kenneth Jr. (T-Ken), Kyle and Kolby, St. Germain felt a strong desire to do more.

"I could not have done everything I have in my life without the help of my family," she said.

At the beginning she accepted a position with former State Representative Charlie Melancon and Audrey McCain as their legislative aide.

"I handled day to day needs of the office and really learned the ropes," St. Germain said.

After years working in the legislative arena and much contemplation, she decided to run for State Representative in 2003. She won the election and is currently in her third and final term.

In her role as State Representative, she has served on the Natural Resources and Environment Committee, the Agriculture Committee and the Transportation and Highway Committee. She now is Chairwoman of the Committee on Transportation and Highways.

One of her proudest accomplishments was helping to pass several key pieces of legislation for fire service and the Atchafalaya Basin.

"Both issues come easy to someone like me that grew up in this area and had a 'gip' for a dad," St. Germain said. "The Basin legislation will help funding and preservation efforts for years to come. Thousands of Louisiana families use the Basin every year. We fish, boat, hunt and catch crawfish, catfish and frogs.

"We might not realize it but the Atchafalaya helps bring in nearly half a billion dollars each year from fisheries, recreation and tourism. It's an honor to play a part in protecting and restoring the basin, the jobs it creates and the families it helps support."

She also fought to pass her "Louisiana First" initiative, which rewards companies that create jobs in Louisiana with tax credits.

St. Germain says humbly, "My job is so fulfilling. I stand up for the people of my district. Every day I handle a different issue. I try to listen and really connect with the citizens of my district. People have to know that you care about their issues. I have a passion for community service and my role as State Representative has been a great platform to serve the citizens here."

Politicians from around the state have called St. Germain, "a tireless advocate for her district," a strong voice on issues crucial to our area," and "a well-respected and effective legislator."

For her never ending service and commitment to her district, we are proud to call her our State Representative and our friend.