Former Parish Administrator to challenge current Councilwoman for Lafourche’s Presidency
Two Republicans got through the October election and will now challenge for the vacant Lafourche Parish Presidency.
Archie Chaisson is set to challenge Luci Sposito in a run-off after both candidates got more votes than fellow challenger Joe Fertitta in the October primary.
Chaisson carried 47 percent of the vote (12,679 votes) in October, while Sposito generated 34 percent (9,160).
Both candidates have experience in Lafourche Parish Government.
Chaisson was the Parish Administrator under former Parish President Charlotte Randolph.
Sposito is a sitting councilwoman.
CHAISSON SAYS EXPERIENCE WILL BENEFIT LAFOURCHE
Chaisson said he believes his experience can take Lafourche into brighter economic times.
Lafourche Parish’s economy has suffered in recent years as the price of oil has suffered.
Chaisson said he plans to work with Port Fourchon and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission to try and help the port grow.
Chaisson mentioned his admiration for the port commission, saying that the port does an excellent job for our region.
Port Fourchon currently has hundreds of millions of dollars of construction going on to secure our area’s economic future.
“We’re going to make sure we have partnerships with them, but without getting in their way,” Chaisson said. “Finishing the La. 1 Highway, working with the brand-new LNG facility that’s coming to the port, making sure that they have the tax incentives that the need to be able to locate here and grow here is going to be crucial. And then finally, we’re going to work with them on continued economic development.”
Chaisson said he also wants to partner with Nicholls State University to train our future workforce, something that he said he was able to do a little bit of as a Parish Administrator and he hopes to continue to do as Parish President, if elected.
“Continue those partnerships is going to be crucial,” Chaisson said. “Not only having students who have job knowledge when they come out because they’ve done some work in the government sector, but it’s also going to be helpful to help Dr. Clune and that university grow.”
But to make all of these economic advancements possible, Chaisson said Lafourche has to change its tax structure.
The parish currently has some of the highest tax rates in the state.
“We’re taxing ourselves to death,” he said.
Because rates are so high, Chaisson said Lafourche is losing out on business, and he plans to reform the tax system so that the parish can begin to win new industries.
“We have to reform our tax structure and make sure that we’re business friendly,” Chaisson said.
SPOSITO BELIEVES SHE CAN MOVE LAFOURCHE FORWARD
A lot of Sposito’s vision for Lafourche aligns with Chaisson’s statements with slight differences.
She said she, too, wants to work with the Greater Lafourche Port Commission to protect the state’s oil and gas industry. She said she, too, also wants to work to boost Nicholls State University, while working with them to train the future workforce.
Sposito was endorsed for the Lafourche Parish Presidency by the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association (LOGA). She said she believes the current parish council has done a good job supporting the Port and she’d continue that forward progression, if elected.
“The Parish Council has already began working with Port Fourchon,” Sposito said. “We work with them on capital outlay projects. … Partnerships between parish government and Port Fourchon and private industry, hopefully in the very near future, will help us do what we need to do to make sure Port Fourchon stays strong.”
Sposito said some of the reasons for Lafourche’s problems in the past have been centered around leadership and she believes she can be a steadying force to unify the parish and bring it forward.
Sposito pointed to the council’s recent record — passing resolutions and ordinances at greater than a 95 percent clip — as proof that the council, itself, has been unified in recent years. With a “reasonable” parish president, she said some of the tensions of the past can dissipate.
The current council has had many public spats with outgoing Parish President during his tenure.
“Communication resolves most problems and that’s what will happen in my Parish Presidency,” Sposito said.
When asked the No. 1 thing she’d do, if elected, Sposito said she would protect Lafourche from oil and gas lawsuits that are happening around the state.
She said those lawsuits are hurting the industry and she doesn’t want Lafourche to have any part in them — a statement Chaisson also echoed.
“I’ll do everything in my power to work with our delegation and to work with whoever the Governor is to make sure that that disappears,” she said.