Matthew “Matt” Watson has spent the past four years running Metro Councilman Ryan Heck’s office, but is now ready to step into the starring role and run for the council seat.
Watson announced his candidacy on Tuesday, saying that the relationships he has made and knowledge he has gained about issues like zoning as Heck’s legislative assistant should help propel him to victory. He is running as a Republican for the District 11 seat, which covers parts of the Goodwood neighborhood and other areas of southeast Baton Rouge.
“Even if you don’t live in District 11, chances are you travel through our district at least twice daily,” Watson said, referencing the Interstate 10/Interstate 12 split and the arterial roads people use when the Interstate is clogged. “Fixing the traffic problems in District 11 helps not just the people in this district but people parish wide.”
Watson said he would push for better traffic light synchronization, which is an ongoing process in the city-parish.
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He also said he would try to pursue road projects that the city-parish has invested money in but never finished. One example, Watson said, is adding a turning lane for southbound drivers on Jefferson Highway who are turning west onto Corporate Boulevard.
The location of Wards Creek and Dawson Creek in District 11 also make drainage there an especially important issue, Watson said. And as a legislative assistant, Watson is often called on to help people with property and zoning problems.
A frequent attendee of home owners association meetings, Watson said he’s plugged into what kind of changes local ordinances need to be more home-owner friendly.
“All politics is local,” Watson said. “I’ve been uniquely in a spot to know what needs to happen to fix the day to day problems that impacts people’s quality of life. And the single largest investment that most people make their home. That’s what I’m focused on because that’s what the council has the ability to address.”
Watson said he also wants to ensure that any tax proposals that come through the Metro Council go on ballots for major elections. Some agencies ask for tax propositions on low voter turnout elections to help them pass.
Heck, who has spent one term on the council, said in May that he would not seek re-election. Watson is the first to publicly announce that he will officially run for Heck’s seat.