Locals vie for state seats

Smith to run for Senate, Norco lawyer for rep

Michelle Stuckey
July 15, 2011 at 9:17 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Voters still have a few months to register to vote in the October elections this year, but candidates are already announcing their intentions to represent the St. Charles area in state government.

Judge Robert Chaisson, with the 29th Judicial District Court in Hahnville, will be leaving his chair this fall to run for a higher seat on the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal.

Luling’s Edward A. Dufresne Jr., who was chief judge of the Louisiana 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, died last year.
Chaisson decided 15 years ago to go down the path of public service and so far that path has been very gratifying and rewarding, he said.

“Running for the Court of Appeal is the next logical step in that clear path,” he said.

He hopes the community will support him as he strives to be fair and impartial to all who come before the court. He said he makes every effort to be accessible to the public, the legal community and all litigants and attorneys.

The judge is not the only Chaisson making a change during this October’s election - his brother will be leaving the Louisiana Senate.

As Senator Joel Chaisson’s final term comes to a close at the end of this year, there has been some speculation about where he will go and who will take his place.

While the senator is rumored to run for state Attorney General, he maintains that he has not made a final decision on his political future and that he is still contemplating his options.

“I have received a lot of encouragement to seek statewide office now that my legislative career is coming to a close,” Chaisson said. “I’m going to be contemplating those options during the coming month now that the session is closed and I will make a decision.”

Running for his seat is State Representative Gary Smith Jr. of Norco.

Smith said he has been focused on the Senate seat for the past few years and hopes the community will support him.
“I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to represent this great area for the past 12 years,” Smith said. “I am actively seeking (the seat)…I’ve already been out there talking to people.”

With Smith moving on to run for State Senate, a candidate has emerged to run for his open District 56 Louisiana House of Representatives seat.

Norco native Gregory Miller has practiced law in St. Charles Parish since 1988 and hopes to serve the community in a greater way beginning next year.

“Solving people’s problems is what I do as a lawyer and I feel that I have acquired some experience in dealing with the law and the government…I feel like I can bring that ability to the legislature,” Miller said.

Miller also said that he thinks many neighboring parish officials hold the idea that public service comes with the expectation of extra compensation and that he hopes to put a stop to that.

“With all of the ethics problems we’ve seen in St. John, St. Tammany, Jefferson and Orleans parishes, I would bring some integrity without any expectation that I am owed something because I decided to commit myself to public service,” he said.

If elected, Miller said he hopes to reduce spending at the state level.

“We had an opportunity to try to shrink the size of government on the state level after Katrina and I just saw it get bigger and bigger,” he said. “I feel that we’ve been spending too much money at the state level…I think the state needs to tighten its belt.”

This is the first in a series of articles on local elections that will appear in the Herald-Guide. If anyone plans on running for election in October, please notify either Jonathan Menard or Michelle Stuckey at (985)758-2795 or send an email to editor@heraldguide.com as soon as possible.

View other articles written Michelle Stuckey

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