Two vie to fill seat of retired justice

Derrel Ranatza and Zachary Young

A longtime contractor and business owner from Ama and a commercial marine salesman from Luling are vying to fill the seat left open by the retiring Earl Tastet as Justice of the Peace for District 2, as Derrel Ranatza, no party, squares off with Zachary Young, a Republican.

Ranatza was a remodeling contractor for many years in St. Charles Parish who opened several businesses, including Boogie’s Gaming, Boogie’s Lounge, P.J.’s Po Boy and Overtime Lounge. Now retired, he believes he can put his experience in the business community to work for the people.

“I feel like my work history and my business history pertains to pretty much everything a Justice of the Peace does,” Ranatza said. “I feel I’ll be good at it. Because I’m retired, I feel I can commit to do this as a full-time position. And I like to deal with people.”

Ranatza, raised in Waggaman and a longtime resident of Ama, points to having vast experience with different employees, customers and patrons, and knowledge of building codes that have led him to this potential role.

His years in the field, he said, sets him apart from his younger opponent.

“I don’t think he has the experience dealing with people, with building codes, on how to deal with disputes over property or other things. I think he might be a little immature for the job.,” Ranatza said. “He has an MBA, but while he was learning business administration and how to do business, I was doing business. My education comes from  the school of hard knocks.”

Young, a lifelong resident of St. Charles Parish who lives in Luling and graduated from Hahnville High, has worked in the commercial marine industry for the past 10 years. Most recently, he was named Gulf Region Manager for a diesel engine distributor, and he is a current member of the St. Charles Parish Industrial Development Board.

He says he’s running for Justice of the Peace to serve the people of St. Charles Parish that he says entails much more than people generally think.

“The Justice of the Peace has jurisdiction over certain civil matters and has the authority to issue arrest warrants in certain types of criminal cases,’” Young said. “Landlord and tenant disputes are most often heard in the Justice of the Peace courts … St. Charles Parish is a great place to live, work and raise a family, and I intend to keep it that way.”

Young said the job requires an understanding of various legal principles and he believes his education, which includes a master’s degree in business administration from LSU, gives him the kind of strong grasp one needs to serve in that capacity. He also pointed to his endorsement by St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne as a strong positive.

“I have a clear understanding of the responsibilities and duties of this position, as well as the ethical standards to perform them in an unbiased manner,” Young said.


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