A field of 17 candidates are vying Oct. 24 for six open seats on the Lafayette City-Parish Council.

Eight women are running, a major change from just four years ago, when only one female candidate entered the council race. No woman has been elected to the City-Parish Council since the once-separate governments for the city of Lafayette and Lafayette Parish consolidated in 1996.

Three incumbent council members were automatically re-elected when no one ran against them: District 1 Councilman Kevin Naquin, District 4 Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux and District 9 Councilman William Theriot.

Two other seats are open because the incumbents chose not to seek re-election: District 7 Councilman Don Bertrand and District 8 Councilman Keith Patin.

The Acadiana Advocate asked each candidate two questions: What are the most important issues facing your district, and how do you plan to address them? What are the most important issues facing city-parish government as a whole, and how do you plan to address them?

The answers are presented here, with minor editing for clarity and brevity, along with basic biographical information.

Council districts 2, 3 and 5 are presented today. Council districts 6,7 and 8 will be in Saturday’s newspaper.

DISTRICT 2

Jay Castille (incumbent)

54, Democrat, Carencro

PROFESSION: city manager for Carencro, restaurant owner, real estate developer, construction business owner

EDUCATION: attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

EXPERIENCE: retired Lafayette firefighter, two terms on the City-Parish Council

PERSONAL: single, three children

District issues: “Drainage is the most important issue facing the rural areas, and public safety is the most important issue for the city residents. Currently, I’m addressing the drainage issue with three large drainage projects. To address the public safety issue, I want to make sure the police and fire departments have everything they need to protect our residents of the district. Also, I will ask for help from the community to work with our public safety personnel to figure out how best to address an issue in their neighborhoods.”

Parishwide issues: “As a whole, traffic, recreation, public safety and roads. All of our major roads are state roads, and we have no authority over them. We need to be creative with our intersections, add roundabouts at busy locations and look into more cross-street connections. Recreation needs to be addressed on the parish level, and funding should be parishwide. I would ask the people of this parish how they would like to fund recreation and move forward on getting recreation where it needs to be. We need to make sure our public safety personnel have every tool they need and get our community involved to work together to solve these issues we face on a daily basis. Concerning roads, the city has a decent urban overlay program budget, but the parish has only $350,000 to address all parish roads, including gravel roads. This needs to be addressed immediately. I believe we need to look at the way the administration is funding the Public Works Department with parish dollars. The inequity that exists in the way it is funded needs to be addressed.”

Charlotte Stemmans Clavier

49, Republican, Carencro

PROFESSION: president of Stemmans Inc., a horse supply company

EDUCATION: bachelor’s degree in history from Tulane University

EXPERIENCE: former mayor pro tem for Carencro, past member of the Carencro Parks and Recreation Commission, Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders board of directors

PERSONAL: single, three children

District issues: “I think the biggest issue facing my district is infrastructure — drainage, roads, bridges. But in District 2, the biggest concern is drainage. In District 3, it would be crime. In District 8, it would be traffic. But what do they all have to do with each other? They are all a worry for the families that live in those areas — worrying about flooding in or near your home when the weather forecast is only 30 percent, worrying about crime affecting your family when you are just trying to get to work and your kids to school, worrying about how long it will take you to get where you are going because of traffic.”

Parishwide issues: “These issues affect everyone in the parish and will require the newly elected council and parish president to work toward solutions for all of us. I am ready to work hard toward finding solutions for all of us.”

DISTRICT 3

Ursula Anderson

40, Republican, Lafayette

PROFESSION: employed at the DeSormeaux Foundation, an anti-abortion nonprofit group.

EDUCATION: bachelor’s in organization and public communications from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

EXPERIENCE: anti-abortion speaker, holds a private investigator certification, legislative liaison work

PERSONAL: single, two children

District issues: “In speaking to the citizens of the District 3 community, the most important issues include public safety and economic development. To reduce crime, I plan to establish ongoing relationships with local law enforcement agencies to develop partnerships. I also plan to initiate a districtwide neighborhood watch program that will aid in securing citizen safety against violence and illegal activity. Economic development is essential in growing our community. I plan to promote expansion of businesses to create jobs, which in turn will produce economic wealth within the District 3 community.”

Parishwide issues: “The important issue facing the city-parish government is the infrastructure issue. Traffic congestion continues to be a growing concern for the city as a whole. Due to the fact we live in a shift-work environment, my plan is to promote roundabouts and a better synchronization of the traffic light system. I also intend to support the I-49 Connector project so we can keep Lafayette moving in the right direction.”

Patrick “Pat” Lewis

58, Democrat, Lafayette

PROFESSION: sales tax auditor for Lafayette Parish school system

EDUCATION: bachelor’s in general studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

EXPERIENCE: worked 12 years in banking, eight as a supervisor, before joining school system

PERSONAL: married, two children

District issues: “Crime is one of the most important issues that needs to be addressed, both in the city and in the parish. I want to be proactive in working with law enforcement in developing and implementing sustainable public safety programs. Our city has become too crime-infested, and someone has got to take a stand against this violent culture that has overtaken Lafayette Parish.

“Another important issue facing the city of Lafayette is the unbalanced and disproportional economic disparity between upper and lower Lafayette. Upper Lafayette is the gateway to Acadiana, and as the gateway, we need to promote beautification and economic development. By increasing the quality of life, the residents of Lafayette Parish will be provided with hope, relief and, most importantly, restoration in pride of their city.

“Lastly, by continuing to focus downtown Lafayette and revitalizing our core, what we are investing in is the revitalization of our community. When this occurs, the people Lafayette as a whole’s quality of life and quality of place will rise better and brighter than ever.”

Parishwide issues: We need to make sure beautification and economic development is promoted, which will provide a harmonious social environment for tourists and residents of Lafayette Parish. It will provide hope, relief and, importantly, pride of our parish.

“Crime in our community is a very important issue to our city-parish government as a whole. Having a safe parish is essential in having a livable and thriving city. We need to continuing revitalizing downtown Lafayette.”

John Petersen

31, Democrat, Lafayette

PROFESSION: co-owner of Swamp Pop sodas

EDUCATION: bachelor’s degree and MBA, both from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

EXPERIENCE: growing Swamp Pop into a national brand

PERSONAL: single, no children?District issues: “Voters I speak with in District 3 are concerned about crime and safety, the condition of our roads, infrastructure and the continued lack of sufficient economic development in our area. I’ll work toward a true partnership between the public and law enforcement. I’ll be a voice for smart, even growth to reverse our constant budgetary shortfall for infrastructure maintenance, and I’ll be a champion for economic growth in our community’s core, including our crucial gateway corridors and our downtown district. I’ll be accessible and responsive as we work together to navigate crucial developments like the proposed I-49 Connector and as we address issues both large and small to build a strong and flourishing District 3.”

Parishwide issues: “We have to address our traffic issue, we have to address our infrastructure maintenance shortfalls, and we have to focus on growth that is data-driven and people-focused. This will require public investment where returns are greatest, a commitment to proactive planning and maintaining an environment where the private sector can flourish and our residents can find work at every skill level. I’ll be a relentless voice in support of these values on the council.”

Brandon Shelvin (incumbent)

38, Democrat, Lafayette

EDUCATION: bachelor’s in general studies from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

EXPERIENCE: two terms on City-Parish Council, two-time chairman of the Lafayette Public Utilities Authority, former chairman of the City-Parish Council

District issues: “Although there are many issues facing District 3, I think three of the most important are blighted properties, public safety/quality life and revitalizing our downtown urban core, particularly the federal courthouse site. I already have a head start on these issues because I’ve been working on them for the past eight years and have the inside track.

“I was also instrumental in helping form the North Lafayette Redevelopment Authority back in 2008 with former state Sen. Donald Cravins Jr., which currently is an active organization that, in my opinion, will do great work in the Lafayette community.

“As it relates to public safety/quality of life, I was instrumental in helping our police officers get to the fourth-highest pay in the state of Louisiana, which would be a great recruiting tool to help us fill empty slots to put more manpower on the streets to help fight crime in our streets. I was also very instrumental in helping to secure in our budget over $1 million for neighborhood crime cameras, which will be put up in our high-crime areas.

“Downtown Lafayette has been a great hub for great events such as Festival International, Downtown Alive!, Mardi Gras, the Latin Festival and many other events, but downtown needs a shot in the arm, and what I will work on my next four years, which I have already began, is the process to take the federal courthouse site and turn it into a mixed-use development with retail stores at the bottom and condos and residential living spaces at the top.”

Parishwide issues: “The most important issue that we will face with city-parish government in the upcoming years will be trying to find new funding sources to complete the backlog of projects that we have on the books. Government is about providing services, and the only way we as a government can provide services to the citizens of Lafayette Parish is to have the necessary financial resources to pay for these services, so we will need to find new funding sources so that we can continue to provide the same level of services to our constituents that we have been fortunate enough to deliver.”

DISTRICT 5

Jared Bellard (incumbent)

42, Republican, Lafayette

PROFESSION: landman

EDUCATION: bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette

EXPERIENCE: two terms on City-Parish Council, 18 years as oil and gas landman, past president of Lafayette Association of Professional Landmen

PERSONAL: married, two children

District issues: “The most important issues facing District 5 are roads and drainage. Maintaining these two critical infrastructure needs has been ignored for too long. In order to address these needs, we must first take a hard, honest look at our budget and make certain projects a priority. I am committed to working with the new city-parish president, the new council and our legislative delegation to find the best and most efficient uses for our tax dollars.”

Parishwide issues: “The most important issues facing the city-parish government as a whole are roads and traffic. However, before we are able to address these issues, city-parish government must first address the adversarial relationships the city of Lafayette has with the other municipalities in the parish. We must all be willing to work together, regardless of where we are from, in order to move traffic solutions and infrastructure to the top of our to-do list.”

Monique Koll

37, no party, Duson area

PROFESSION: veterinarian

EDUCATION: bachelor’s in wildlife and fisheries from LSU, veterinary school at Ross University

EXPERIENCE: first president of Bike Walk Louisiana, the first president of the TriCajuns Triathlon Club and first executive director of BikeLafayette. Finished a half-marathon after being partially paralyzed when struck by a car

District issues: “The most pressing issue is the need for someone who is accessible to their constituents and who will work with the administration to help solve problems. Traffic, unrepaired roads and drainage are all major challenges in my district. I am already easy to get in touch with and have researched drainage issues with several District 5 residents. I also serve a community volunteer office with city planners for the entire parish and already working together with them, public works and other council members on various projects.”

Parishwide issues: “Population increase and growth is the most important issue facing the city-parish government as a whole. A multimodel approach is needed to address this, most of all planning ahead how our community is going to grow so that we don’t all live in a concrete jungle with dead-end streets and wall-to-wall traffic.

“Learning to use our roads more efficiently, building our communities in a way where driving is easy and comfortable by improving connectivity and safety, and keeping the uniqueness of our Cajun culture so that businesses, newcomers and our children want to live here are all major aspects that we need to make sure to address. I like the culture and environment in the parish where I live. I don’t want it to look like Johnston Street.”