Lafayette resident Gerald Boudreaux said he decided to throw his hat into the political ring for state Senate District 24 because he believes the people living there deserve good government.
“This district is comprised of people who need their government in a lot of different ways,” said Boudreaux.
Boudreaux has spent the last 33 years working for Lafayette Consolidated Government in the Parks and Recreation Department, most of those years as its director.
He is running against Ledricka Thierry, a state representative from Opelousas who won a special election in 2009, for the Senate District 24 seat. The district covers parts of St. Landry, Lafayette and St. Martin parishes.
Both candidates are Democrats. Thierry did not return multiple calls since late September seeking information.
The election is Oct. 24. The Senate District 24 seat is currently held by Sen. Elbert Guillory, a Republican who is running for lieutenant governor.
Boudreaux said the next Legislature’s biggest challenge will be fixing the budget. Boudreaux and other legislative candidates have said they believe Louisiana’s next governor is likely to call a special session on the budget in January, when the new terms begin.
Boudreaux said he could not cite specific budget remedies he would seek if he wins the District 24 seat. Whoever wins District 24 will have to work with 38 other senators, 105 Louisiana House members and a new governor to craft a spending plan where revenue equals spending. The current budget went into effect July 1, and state accountants already are warning there won’t be enough state income to cover expenses.
Boudreaux said the Legislature will have to prioritize what the money should be spent on.
“This budget will not be an easy fix,” Boudreaux said. “We didn’t get into this overnight. … People can make all kinds of promises.
“It’s going to take a while to get out of this hole that we’re in,” he said.
Boudreaux said his main priority will be adequately funding public education.
Boudreaux and Thierry have each raised a respectable amount of campaign contributions.
According to the Louisiana Ethics Board, in mid-October Thierry had $121,858 in cash for her campaign, including $13,000 in contributions her campaign received on Oct. 14 from law firms in Monroe, Shreveport, Opelousas, New Orleans and Lake Charles. Ethics Board records also indicate Thierry loaned her campaign $30,000, and that she was four days late in filing her January through Sept. 14 fundraising and expense records.
Boudreaux had more than $107,000 in his campaign account in mid-September, including cash from $50,000 he loaned to his campaign, according the Ethics Board, where campaign records in Louisiana are recorded.
Boudreaux has never run for political office before, though he is the brother of Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux.
As a House member, Thierry was on a variety of committees, according to the Louisiana House of Representatives website.
Among them, she was vice-chair or the House Insurance Committee, and also a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Thierry’s decision to run for Senate prompted eight St. Landry Parish residents to run for the House District 40 seat.