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Editor’s Note: The Times of Houma-Thibodaux sent each candidate the same list of questions for our readers to learn more about their platforms and what their plans are for the highest office in Terrebonne Parish. We will be publishing their responses this week.
My name is Roy Chauvin. I have been retired for 21 years from Wildlife and Fisheries as an enforcement agent, or better known as a game warden. I am a graduate of Vandebilt High School and Nicholls State University. I attended Loyola law School but resigned. I attended Nicholls on an athletic scholarship in baseball graduating in 1972, which indicates my age. I am 73 years young, married to my childhood sweetheart, Sally Benoit Chauvin. We have 5 adopted children, custody of a grandchild, and still foster a 39 year old Autistic child. My wife and I have fostered children for 40 years resulting in adoptions along the way. We have been married for 53 years. I am a Christian Conservative. GOD, FAMILY AND COUNTRY.
- Why are you running for Terrebonne Parish President? I am running for Parish President for one reason, to give a voice to those who feel they have none. The inherent nature of politics is to enhance the GOOD OLD BOY attitude leaving the common man left behind. This is achieved by those who cower down to corruption as the easy way, rather than stand up for all who only want fairness and honesty. If the Parish President is fair and honest everything else will fall into place. Simple philosophy but very difficult to achieve. I fought corruption for 27 years in my career as I was in charge of Terrebonne, Lafourche, and Grand Isle which is located in Jefferson Parish. I encountered many obstacles with my stance against those politicians who had no compassion for their fellow man.
- As Parish President, what will your three top priorities be? My three top priorities will be Enhancing economic development, try to get our fair share of monies for infrastructure, roads, bridges, and overall appearance of the parish. I also believe that Coastal Zone Management is crucial to the success of our levee system. CZM monies are the most mismanaged funds in the parish. I have witnessed this fact personally.
- Economic development: What are your plans to keep existing businesses located in Terrebonne Parish? What are your plans to grow and bring in new businesses? In order to keep businesses in our parish we need to see that our educational system is on the same track. Our workforce is depleted of qualified prospective employees. We have a nineteen percent drop out rate coupled with an unacceptable number of graduates who can’t perform simple tasks. We need to support all Fletcher Technical School attempts to give hands-on training to our workforce. We need to offer incentives to existing and future companies. This can be done in many different ways depending on the needs of the particular business.
- Industry: With the current economic challenges our seafood industry is experiencing, what are your plans as Parish President to help sustain and support this particular industry? In the seafood industry there has been a steady decline in fishermen for many different reasons. Lack of the resource does not seem to be the problem. Prices of shrimp have always been volatile, but today imports seem to be eating away at industry profits. We need to devise a plan to circumvent current imports in a sound legal program. I am not sure how we can implement a program without the federal government’s backing, which involves a more sophisticated system of corruption and apathy. Maybe we can apply the shrimp struggles to my Annie Miller Story who single handedly created an industry which has attracted worldwide attention with her swamp tours and a significant boom to our struggling economy. This would have to involve how the fishermen accept change. I am talking about shrimp tours, showing the world where shrimp come from while promoting the industry in general.
- Quality of place: What do you plan to do to increase the quality of place in Terrebonne Parish? Quality of life is directly related to peace of mind. We need to relieve the flood worries and the lack of an adequate FEMA program. At the current rate we are going to be forced out of our homes due to a financial crisis created by a non caring Federal Government. Sounds like the same old song, however, the Parish President does not control the Federal Government. With pride we need to make our parish look presentable to those businesses who want to locate here and live. We need to improve access to our natural resources.
- Levees: What are your plans to maintain and further develop our levee system and protection, beginning with Morganza to the Gulf? Improving the levee system, as well as maintenance, will be an ongoing mandate for many presidents to come. This is an ongoing process. To possibly ease our insurance rates we need to comply with the twenty-one feet high requirement on levee heights. It is my understanding that we are at the thirteen feet high levee which FEMA does not recognize as a levee if I understand these complicated rules right.
- Flooding: What are your plans to address and improve flood protection for our citizens, in particular our pumps/pump stations and street drainage systems? One major issue is the cleaning of ditches and waterways that lead to the pumps. Common sense but this is being neglected. If water can’t get to pump we can have millions of pumps working without relieving our problems. The Bayou Terrebonne Project is another mismanaged project that, as I understand, was funded but not completed. We need to take advantage of this waterway that runs through downtown Houma and make it presentable to the citizens and visiting public. Preventing flooding will be an ongoing project for generations to come. It is the President’s responsibility to lay the groundwork to be built upon.
- Infrastructure/Roads: List and prioritize the parish’s infrastructure needs that you will address as parish president. Roads are very expensive to build and maintain.We need to prioritize those roads that are in the worst shape and fix them. We need to eliminate unfair practices that occurred on the Polk Street bridge project satisfying the ego of a single person at the expense of the public. There were twenty six other bridges that should have been replaced before this one..We need to inform people of the difference between state and parish roads and the funding of such. People just want the roads fixed and forgo the excuses. Infrastructure involves any program that improves the parish. We need to fight for as much funding we can get from the state and federal government. Our parish tax base is not enough to fund all the projects we need.
- Capital outlay: Do you have any specific capital outlay project requests you would like to make to the state? Capital outlay includes any and all projects that need to be funded. for the parish. We have beaten this horse to death and still we don’t get enough. State politics dictates state projects. Not fair at all but true. We can’t hide from this fact. A well connected individual can undermine our resources by going directly to a favorable governor and get his project passed in spite of the priority needs.. I am not trying to pass the buck, I am informing the voters of the obstacles we face. In spite of all this I will work hard to get what we deserve.My intense personality will probably get us money just to get me off their backs. God will guide me in these endeavors.
- Homeowners/Business Insurance: What specific plans will you push for with our federal and state legislative delegations to keep insurance rates affordable for our residences and businesses? Insurance is a necessary evil. Banks won’t finance any project without the mandated insurance. A killer for our parish that seems to have no answer. According to our Senator Kennedy we are being held hostage by a President who is not listening. According to Senator Kennedy the President has the authority to get FEMA off our backs with one phone call. This is politics at the highest level. This amounts to an abuse of power. I have fought Washington before. There are other ways to get their attention and believe me they don’t want to be in a negative spotlight. The other candidates cannot compete with my tenacity.
- Recreation: As Parish President, what are your plans to streamline the operation of the parish-supported recreation programs and facilities? How do you plan to attract outside recreational teams and tournaments to our area?
- Homelessness: As Parish President, what are your plans to address the homeless issues the parish is currently facing? What does the common citizen know about homelessness or better yet ask them if that is one of their priorities. I don’t want to appear to be a know it all but at 73 I have managed to receive first hand knowledge about homelessness. .We have to distinguish homeless families from the guy panhandling on the street corner. Homeless families, especially with children, need to be taken care of. What is most significant is to investigate what led to homelessness in order not to be scammed. With some this is a way of life. I have two children who have been homeless since they left our home. They seem to embellish homelessness in that they have popped into our lives when they hit rock bottom. I have also talked to some of the sign carriers about their situation and most of their problems are self-inflicted. Even though homes and jobs are available to them they would rather be homeless. Strange but true. There is no quick fix for the homeless.
- Ida Issues: What are your plans to address the damages caused by Hurricane Ida to parish-owned and-operated properties, including Bayou Towers and Senator Circle? Since I am not Parish President yet I am not familiar with Hurricane Ida damages we have incurred. Bayou Towers and Senator Circle have to be evaluated for economic viability. Do these structures need to be fixed or replaced? This procedure will apply to all properties the parish owns as well.