Cochran only announced candidate for parish president

Several who ran in 2015 say they aren’t running this year

Incumbent Larry Cochran has announced he will seek a second term as St. Charles Parish president, and one possible opponent is considering a run at this time.

“I feel the parish is in better shape then when I took over in 2016,” Cochran said. “That’s not a dig on the past administration at all. The hard working employees of the parish, along with my staff, have really moved the parish forward but there is still a lot I want to accomplish.”

The election primary is Oct. 12.

The parish president said he is seeking a second term in office because he wants to complete the projects initiated by his administration and continue the good they’re doing to see the parish prosper.

“It would be seamless,” Cochran said of serving a second term as parish president. “Because of the last four years and my time on the council, I believe I’m the most qualified.”

If re-elected, he plans to continue focusing on reaching 100-year flood protection, as well as infrastructure and quality of life upgrades like drinking water, sewerage and recreation.

Cochran said his major accomplishments include improving infrastructure, including levee construction, and making “great strides on the progress of the West Bank levee system.”

As promised when he campaigned, Cochran said he has delivered on transparency with the Finance Department winning an award for the last three years, and the “clean bill of health” from auditor’s reports as “good stewards of the people’s money.”

Additionally, the parish’s general fund has grown from $7 million to nearly $15 million, he said. Last year, the parish secured more than $9 million in grants.

“We were able to accomplish this because of our dedicated directors and devoted civil service employees helping my administration do more with less while still providing excellent quality of life for the residents of St. Charles Parish,” he said.

Cochran estimated use of the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center in Luling has risen by at least 50 percent, which has been a priority of his administration.

One potential challenger for parish president has emerged.

Al Suffrin, a 12-year member of the St. Charles Parish School Board, is considering running against Cochran.

“I’m still contemplating,” said the Destrehan resident. “I’ve heard from a lot of people encouraging me to run. I think the overwhelming feedback is people want an alternative.”

Although he concedes it’s a job that changes your life, he also considers it an opportunity to give back to the community. At age 64, Suffrin said if he’s going to run for parish president now is the time to do it. He added that he won’t run a negative campaign.

“If I get in, I want to do it for the right reason,” he said.

Suffrin would also bring a financial background to the race if he seeks the office.

He is an experienced member of the School Board, just coming off a year as president. Whether his next political move will be a run for parish president will rely on whether he’s ready to take on a 24-7, 365-day job where “you’re not just judged on a professional level, but also on a personal level.”

Terry Authement, who ran unsuccessfully against Cochran in 2015, said he is not running again for parish president or the council. His plans include spending time with his family.

“At this present time, unless something miraculous changes, I’ve moved on,” Authement said. “I’ve done my duty to the community. I enjoyed it, but I moved on.”

Authement, a Republican who served 12 years on the council, said he wasn’t aware of other possible candidates for parish president.

“It’s not an easy job,” he said. “I wish them all the best.”

John Cornwell, who also ran against Cochran, said he’s not running again.

“I’m just enjoying the grandchildren and traveling,” Cornwell said.

Cornwell wished Cochran well and said levees will likely be the campaign issue again.

“I wish him well,” he said. “The better he does the better the parish does and that’s the overall goal we want.”

V.J. St. Pierre, who served as parish president for two terms and while Cochran served on the council, said he also is not seeking the seat again.

St. Pierre said, although he misses serving in the position, his health issues are preventing him from running again.

He did say he contemplates levees being a campaign issue again.

“Until we get levees on both side of the river, the drainage will always be a big issue,” St. Pierre said. “My thing is put good quality of life things into the parish like the big park behind the community center … getting it done once the levees were built.”

St. Pierre also said an issue is how to ensure the parish infrastructure is upgraded to keep pace with growth.

Although there were rumors that Councilman Paul Hogan would seek the office, he announced he would seek re-election as an at-large councilman.

Council members Mary Clulee and Billy Woodruff both said they weren’t aware of anyone else seeking the office of parish president.

Geaux vote for parish president

  • The election primary is Oct. 12.
  • Early voting for the primary runs Sept. 28 – Oct. 5.
  • GeauxVote.com online registration is Sept. 21.
  • If there is a runoff, it will be held Nov. 16.
  • The runoff early voting runs Nov. 2 – 9.

About Anna Thibodeaux 1879 Articles
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