Ascension Parish president candidates want to restore ‘integrity’ to position

A look at the four candidates running for Ascension Parish President

ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - The four candidates vying for current Ascension Parish President Kenny Matassa’s position are making the point that they want to restore “integrity” to that office.

Matassa decided not to seek reelection for the position.

Four candidates put their names in for the position. They are current Ascension Homeland Security Director Rick Webre, Clint Cointment, who narrowly lost to Matassa during the last election, Ricky Diggs, who has also run for the position before, and Murphy Painter Sr., who previously led the Department of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC).

Each candidate agrees certain issues need to be addressed by the next president, including improving traffic, drainage, and trust in the position.

"We’re going to have quarterly reports in a simplified form so residents know exactly what projects we’re working on, exactly where their money is going,” Cointment said.

Clint Cointment
Clint Cointment (Source: WAFB)

"I think the office needs a lifting and needs a face lift where the people of the parish are confident they are getting a bang for their buck,” Painter said.

While each harks on integrity, they’re also hounding on the more well known problems.

"Our traffic situation is horrendous,” Painter said. "It needs to be overhauled or changed or done some kind of way where people can move some kind of way with some kind of ease and not be stuck in traffic all the time."

Murphy Painter Sr.
Murphy Painter Sr.

Cointment says he wants more overall investment in infrastructure, while Diggs wants specific items addressed when it comes to traffic.

"Adding more turnarounds by adding more one-way streets, and by synchronizing the lights in the parish so that they flow,” Diggs said.

On drainage, Cointment says he already has a plan he wants to implement.

"In my flex plan, I have the drainage and maintenance program and what that does, it allows parish employees to go throughout the system, identify the problems, and correct them before the storms,” Cointment said.

Diggs says he would place some of the burden of improving drainage on developers.

"If an area is being developed, that area would be responsible for improving the drainage, the infrastructure, and everything that’s associated with putting a burden on the system,” Diggs said.

Ricky Diggs
Ricky Diggs

Webre says he wants to make the parish government more efficient and give it the tools needed to succeed.

"It all resorts back to one primary factor and that's leadership and that's what I want to bring to Ascension Parish government is quality leadership,” Webre said.

Doing that, Webre says he believes he can continue the growth and economic success in Ascension Parish.

“Luckily, we have a vibrant economy, we have great schools, we’ve got great security,” he said. “I’m not one to stifle growth. I think a vibrant economy is critical to us and I will make every effort to support it.”

Rick Webre
Rick Webre

Early voting begins in Louisiana Sept. 28 and goes through Oct. 5. Election day is Oct. 12.

Copyright 2019 WAFB. All rights reserved.