3 vie to represent District V

Michelle O’Daniels, Ryant Price and Anthony Straughter Sr.

The district council seat in District V will be contested between a maritime and environmental law attorney, a retired military veteran, and the founder of a non-profit aimed at helping at-risk youth.

Republican Michelle O’Daniels, Democrat Ryant Price and Independent Anthony Straughter Sr. will vie to represent the district in the upcoming Oct. 14 election.

O’Daniels has set aside her full-time law practice to pursue the seat and with it, she says, a chance to make a difference. A grant writer and consultant for Matthew 25:35 Ministries food pantry in Destrehan and a court appointed special advocate for children, O’Daniels believes what she lacks in political experience she more than makes up for with a blend of skills she’s sharpened through her job experiences. She notes that she’s worked with governmental officials on negligence and planning and zoning issues and is very familiar with the roles of the local governmental departments and the parish ordinances.

I’ve worked with the parish before on legal issues and I know the complexities of working with different agencies. I feel I can dig through all of that and get things done for District V,” she said. “I have a background in maritime law, which a lot of our industry is based in, an environmental background … I know where to find answers for our residents.”

The LaPlace native and St. Charles Catholic alum said she decided to run as she and other residents were pushing for a solution to flooding issues in St. Rose.

“I realized that I’ve been on Facebook saying we need to do this or that … it’s time for me to get off of Facebook and actually get involved, not just be the armchair quarterback,” O’Daniels said. “We’re going to see a master drainage plan put in front of us in a couple weeks and I want to make sure we understand it, we know what projects are going to be and shepherd those projects into being done.”

Straughter, a lifelong St. Rose native, is the founder and president of the Dr. K Movement, a non-profit organization established in 2012 in an effort to help guide today’s at-risk youths to stay on the right path, while also encouraging people who have been convicted of crimes in the past to make a positive impact on society, and providing them a platform to do so.

“In my early years, I chose the wrong route,” Straughter said. “I got in a little trouble and went to jail for it. I paid my debt to society … I want to give back because at one point I did nothing but take away. I was the problem at one time. Now, I’ve come back and I want to do what’s right and give back that knowledge I didn’t have then, but I have now.”

Straughter and his organization made an impact after Hurricane Ida, feeding community members including line workers and first responders, and traveling from Atlanta to St. Rose while bringing ice and fuel. Dr. K helps those reentering society following a prison term to find employment.

He said frustration over community complaints seemingly falling on deaf ears inspired his move to run.

“I had some issues and I couldn’t get anything done (by speaking with) the council. I felt like the parish government turned their backs on me, so I said I’ll go out and make a difference myself,” Straughter said.

He said improvements to the parish’s recreation department and the correction of drainage issues are among his focuses should he be elected.

“I’d like to see some speed bumps added to neighborhoods populated with children,” he said before adding, “I want to fight for St. Rose, but also St. Charles Parish as a whole. I want to be a voice, an advocate, for everyone.”

Price served six years in the U.S. Marine Corps and 22 years with the National Guard, retiring with the rank of Major. He spent 22 years working in the chemical plant industry as well, at Cornerstone and Evonik. The 34-year resident of St. Rose has also served as District V’s Planning and Zoning Commissioner.

Price said once Councilwoman Marilyn Bellock was set to term out as District V’s representative, he felt there was a need and it inspired him to run.

“I saw a vacuum,” Price said. “I didn’t see anybody with my qualifications stepping up to run. We have several concerns here in St. Rose and I feel I’m the person who can help fix and regulate those issues.”

Price believes he’s the best fit for the job because of his experience working with the government, as well as his time coaching youth sports and teaching in the parish – at Albert Cammon Middle School and St. Rose Elementary.

“I understand the concerns of parents as far as recreation goes and also the needs of the kids, because I’ve coached,” Price said. “I sit on the community advisory panel, and I was asked to join that because of my knowledge and ability to discuss chemical and industrial safety language.

“There are a lot of things upcoming St. Rose, to District V – the expansion of chemical and grain plants, the expansion of the housing development, and I already have my finger on the pulse of those things.”

Price noted that drainage will be one of the chief things to address as well, and that especially since his retirement he’s been more focused than ever on helping to improve his community in whatever way he can.

I’ve lived here for 34 years. My wife is a lifelong resident of St. Rose … my whole life, basically, revolves around St. Rose,” Price said.

 

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