GONZALES — Johnny Berthelot, former mayor of Gonzales, is running for state representative, promising fiscally conservative management and a smart policy eye.

Berthelot, 59, R-Gonzales, is seeking election in the Oct. 22 primary to District 88. That House seat has been changed by reapportionment to become wholly contained within Ascension Parish.

The changes move district lines farther west into Ascension, incorporating most of Gonzales and eliminating all of the Livingston Parish precincts that were in the old District 88.

Mayor of Gonzales for 24 years until he did not seek re-election in 2008, Berthelot said he has an abundance of fight left because he fears his grandchildren may have to leave Louisiana to fulfill their dreams.

“Thousands of families are torn apart by lack of opportunity. This is unacceptable,” he said in a campaign announcement.

Touting a mayoral track record that made Gonzales “a shining example of what Louisiana can become if people focus on smart policies as a true, obtainable goal,” Berthelot said he rests his House campaign on five main points:

• Reducing traffic on state highways by adding capacity and improving safety.

• Eliminating bloated government spending on failed programs and updating others.

• Improving education by retaining teachers, upgrading technology and giving parents more control over their child’s education.

• Investing in a jobs’ development plan of tax incentives, worker training and economic diversification.

• Protecting conservative values and Louisiana’s natural areas, and fighting corruption.

“I will bring a conservative approach to state government and a powerful voice for the citizens of our community,” Berthelot said in his statement of candidacy.

He was the staff chairman for the Ascension Economic Development Corp. from January 2009 to October 2010.

If elected, Berthelot would replace Rep. M.J. “Mert” Smiley Jr., R-St. Amant, who has said he is running for Ascension Parish assessor.