Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts filed his qualifying papers Wednesday to run for reelection to his at-large seat, joining Louis Congemi and Jimmy Lawson.
Congemi, the former Kenner Mayor and former Jefferson Parish councilman, also filed Wednesday, while Lawson, also a former parish councilman, filed Tuesday.
All three candidates have publicly discussed their intention to run in what is expected to be a three-way race for one of the parish’s two at-large seats. As of Wednesday afternoon, the other at-large seat still had only one candidate, sitting District 5 Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, who has term-limited out of her current seat.
In other Jefferson Parish news on the second day of qualifying for the Oct. 24 primary election, Councilman Ricky Templet drew a challenge for the District 1 seat on the West Bank from Scott Grindstaff, a political newcomer who says he’ll focus on getting results on day-to-day issues of traffic congestion, street repair and drainage.
“Too often we just rest on our laurels and say someone else is going to take care of it, and that’s what motivated me to get involved in this election, said Grindstaff, who lives in Harvey and works at Mothe Life Insurance in Gretna.
Grindstaff, 38, said that while he’s only lived on in West Jefferson for a few years, he has a sense of what problems residents want to see resolved, particularly traffic congestion.
In District 1, Manhattan and Lapalco boulevards in particular could be improved by timing the traffic lights more effectively, though he said the problem is parishwide.
On Veteran’s Memorial Boulevard, “you’re always locked up, it doesn’t’ matter what time of day.”
Along with keeping up with potholes and drainage, traffic congestion is part of a broader issue of the parish not keeping up with growth as well as it should, Grindstaff said.
While he has nothing negative to say about the incumbent, Templet, Grindstaff said things can be better than the status quo.
“I just think it’s been ho-hum, and some of that is government,” he said. “I think the opportunity to make a more visible impact is available.”
Grindstaff, a native of Utah, came to the West Bank from Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ottawa University and a certificate in international relations. He worked on a congressional campaign in Utah in the late 1990s and has a father who is a long-time city and county manager in Georgia, two things that have given him a taste for politics and public policy.
Qualifying ends Thursday afternoon.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter @Chad_Calder