Longtime Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez reflects at end of fourth, final term

(Source: WAFB)
(Source: WAFB)

ASCENSION PARISH, LA (WAFB) - It is an end of an era in Ascension Parish. The first-ever elected parish president clocked out Wednesday one final time. Tommy Martinez is officially heading into retirement.

On his last day in office, Martinez recalled some of his most memorable moments of his four terms in office.

From behind his brand new wooden desk inside the state-of-the-art Ascension Parish Government Complex, Tommy Martinez reflected on 14 years of leadership.

"We had Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Ike, a snowstorm, a couple of tornadoes came through. The first few years, I was wondering why the hell I took this job," Martinez said.

Martinez's time in office came with many challenges, but was filled with accomplishments too.

Martinez was elected the first president of Ascension Parish in 1992. He served two terms, then left to work in the private sector before being re-elected in 2007 and again in 2011 to a fourth term.

His final years in office were perhaps the most progressive. Under his watch, Ascension Parish acquired the Lamar Dixon Expo Center, cut the ribbon on several expansions, and built a stronger sense of community.

Martinez said the parish is growing faster than ever.

"We have over 5,000 new lots that have been approved within the last six months," Martinez said.

More houses mean a greater need for better transportation. Martinez helped get traffic moving, but he said the challenge will remain long after he leaves office.

"I'm going to miss the people. It's such a wonderful feeling when you get a call thanking you," Martinez said. The parish has been wonderful. I just want to thank the people for allowing me the opportunity to serve. It's been my pleasure and a rewarding experience."

Martinez said he plans to continue serving the parish through volunteer work. He also plans to spend time traveling to with his family.

His replacement, Kenny Matassa, will be sworn into office on January 4, 2016.

Copyright 2015 WAFB. All rights reserved.