Staying the course on his plan to “hit the ground running” as president-elect of St. Charles Parish, Matt Jewell has named a seven-member transition team to aid his move into the office.
“We are looking forward to a fast and smooth transition, thanks to the amazing team that we have assembled,” Jewell said. “We have chosen a cross section of leaders who truly care about St. Charles Parish and all our citizens. I’m excited to get to work with them as we begin to build a government to move our parish forward.”
In the Oct. 12 primary, Jewell beat incumbent Larry Cochran, who was seeking his second term in office as parish president.
Jewell won it outright with 55.6 percent of the vote over Cochran’s 34.1 percent.
Jewell said his team represents “people of our parish and their interests during the implementation of the new administration” in anticipation of taking office in January.
“We feel that it is reflective of our community and our mission is to create a smooth transition and build a great administration to move our parish forward,” he said. “Our transition team wants to thread the needle through continuity and new vision. I believe, with the team I’ve assembled, we’ll be able to achieve that goal.”
Team member Marilyn Diggs said she was “just elated” and honored to serve on the team as a faith-based member. As director of the Boutte Community Outreach Center, Diggs actively volunteers in the community.
“I want to see his vision and how goal oriented he is going to be for the future of the parish,” Diggs said. “I know it’s all going to be about success for him because he is young.”
Jewell, age 30, served in the office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise for four years and then in the Trump administration as a legislative advisor for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Based on her initial discussion about his priorities, Diggs said Jewell pinpointed drainage and flood protection, which she was glad to hear with residents paying so much for flood insurance.
Both Diggs, as well as team member Tommy Faucheux, say Jewell’s time in Washington will be beneficial to the parish.
“I just feel like now we have a voice in the parish that can reach the White House with the drainage problems we have here,” Diggs said.
Faucheux, Dow’s southeast region state government affairs leader, agreed, adding the parish is not an island.
“It’s a piece of a much larger state puzzle,” he said. “What happens in the state matters here and what happens in Washington matters here. We can use that to expand St. Charles Parish’s reach and everyone can benefit from the resources that industry provides.”
As a team member, Faucheux said he will serve the twofold role representing one of the parish’s largest industries and as a lifelong resident of Luling.
“I absolutely want to give an industry perspective as he prepares for his new administration,” he said. “But just like him, I’m born and raised in Luling so it’s very much personal in that I want to help Matt make this parish better with everything from flood protection to improving our roads and infrastructure … all of the quality of life issues matter to me, because it’s important to Dow employees, and my family, as well.”
Faucheux said he believes Jewell is ready to do the job and will do a great job in leading the parish, which is why he agreed to help.
“It’s an honor that Matt chose me for the team,” he said. “Campaigning is an important part of the process, but transition is all about getting ready to govern. To be selected to be a part of the process is an honor and something I take very seriously.”
Rochelle Touchard, external relations manager of Shell Louisiana/Alabama Manufacturing, agreed.
“First and foremost, let me say that I am honored that Parish President-elect Jewell asked me to be part of his transition team,” Touchard said. “My hope is that my 20-plus years of experience working for both state and local government and, now through the lens of private industry and a lifelong resident of St. Charles Parish, can provide valuable insight into collective decisions being made to ensure a seamless transition on Jan. 13.”
Touchard said her goal is provide guidance and recommendations to structure the administration to deliver the vision set forth in the campaign.
“There is an opportunity to look beyond our borders and find innovative ways to design and implement a smart growth strategy that offers choices and creates avenues for sustainable economic growth,” she said.
Team member David Moyer, a Luling attorney, said he brings his experience to the team as a member of the Public Defender Board since November of 2005, and as the parish’s assistant attorney for three years under former Parish President V.J. St. Pierre Jr.
“I hope to address some of the concerns people have with the parks and recreation department and emphasize some things that work very well,” Moyer said. “I would like to share those thoughts going forward and make sure that Matt is able to hit the ground running.”
Other transition team members include Garrett Monti, of Quality Cleaning Equipment and Supply, St. Charles Parish School Board Member Jay Robichaux and Ryan Burks, of Rycars Construction.