Ascension residents hoping for change after massive overhaul of current council at polls

Voters sweep out numerous officials in Ascension Parish

ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - It appears the voters in Ascension Parish were ticked off, voting out a ton of parish council members on Saturday, Oct. 12.

Five out of the eight parish council incumbents who ran for reelection lost their seats, and one didn’t seek reelection.

That number could be rising, as a runoff will take place in November for the District 7 seat.

“I just think that the people in Ascension are looking for a little bit of change,” said Dionne Davis, a resident living in the parish.

Half of the current Ascension Parish Council was wiped out at the polls Saturday, and there could be as many as seven new faces come January.

"Development, drainage, just the politics in itself," said Davis.

Some voters told WAFB a palpable mistrust in government and possible corruption are what may have led to this massive overhaul of the council.

“I feel like the climate that has really inhabited Ascension Parish over the last years, has brewed a lot of questionable things, a lot of lack of accountability,” said Joel Robert, District 2 councilman-elect.

“It shows a lack of trust in the current council and the administration, for one,” said Chase Melancon, District 6 councilman-elect.

WAFB spoke with two councilman-elects, Chase Melancon and Joel Robert. Both cite a lack of transparency as one of the possible reasons for this overhaul.

“I’m not playing those games, and that’s the thing people are sick of. It’s not about that. It’s about doing the next right thing for the people,” said Robert.

One political insider in the area says residents are constantly frustrated with drainage, development, and the planning commission continuously approving new subdivisions, which many families fear will lead to flooding.

“I believe that elected officials should be the ones saying yay or nay on developments, not appointed people who don’t have to answer to anybody,” Melancon stated.

And for residents like Dionne, she’s just hopeful results will come from the fresh new faces.

"Different people, more progress within the parish, that's about it," said Davis.

Two current council members did run unopposed.

That runoff for the District 7 parish council seat between Aaron Lawler and Kim Christy will take place Nov. 16, along with the race for parish president.

All council members will be sworn in by January.

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