Neal Bourque, an active volunteer with the SaveGonzales recall effort against two Gonzales city councilmen last year, is the new councilman for the Division E seat formerly held by Gary Lacombe, who resigned in November.
Bourque, a Democrat, was unopposed for the spot on the five-member council when the qualifying of candidates for the March 28 City Council race ended Friday afternoon.
In neighboring Iberville Parish, there’s a full slate of qualifiers for the St. Gabriel city elections on the March ballot, with the exception of police chief. Kevin “Butchie” Ambeau, a Democrat, was returned to office without opposition.
In Gonzales, Bourque said his goal “is to work with the mayor and the administration to move the city forward.”
Bourque, who is retired from a family-owned real estate company and an area chemical plant, said various organizers of the community group SaveGonzales, which targeted Councilmen Lacombe and Timothy Vessel, had asked him in the summer if he would consider running for City Council if the recall efforts were successful.
“I adamantly said no every time; it wasn’t why I got into the recall,” Bourque said Friday.
Bourque said he made his decision to throw his hat in the ring around Christmastime.
There are three candidates vying for the Division C seat formerly held by Vessel, who was recalled Dec. 6. They are: Harold Stewart, owner of Stewart’s Barbershop in Gonzales, and Derrick Coco, an operator at the Rain CII plant in St. James Parish, both Democrats; and Willie Robinson, no party affiliation, who is a broker and owner of Ascension Realty of Louisiana in Gonzales.
Bourque said he will learn soon when his swearing in as new councilman will be held. Gonzales resident David Guitreau had been appointed to represent the Division E seat on an interim basis.
Interim appointee Barbara Duhe will continue to represent the Division C seat, sought by three candidates, until the March 28 election.
In St. Gabriel on Friday, Ambeau, a Democrat, claimed the first victory in the municipal races, being unopposed in his fourth bid for police chief.
Ambeau, 48, has served as the head of the town’s Police Department for 12 consecutive years.
Running for mayor are: Lionel Johnson Jr., Ralph “Big Guy” Johnson Sr. and Atkins Williams Jr., all Democrats.
Fifteen candidates are running for the five at-large seats on the City Council.
Twelve are Democrats: Deborah “Debbie” Alexander, Joseph “Little Joe” Allen Jr., Joan Stevens Carter, Gerald Chong, Juan Vashion Darville, Freddie “Carl” Frazier Sr., Keith Gordon, Ronald “Ronnie” Grace, Melvin Hasten Sr., Lloyd “Toot” Videau Sr., Catherine Williams and Kelvin “Yorkey Boy” York Sr.
Listing no party affiliation are Sylvester “Coach Syl” Raymond Fleming and Tressy Gleason; Herman “Beaver” Populars Jr. listed “other party” affiliation.
Advocate staff writer Terry Jones contributed to this report.