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Assessor M.J. 'Mert' Smiley, his wife Ina Smiley, Judge Marilyn Lambert during his recent swearing in ceremony.

M. J. “Mert” Smiley took his third consecutive oath as Ascension Parish assessor Jan. 19 before a small gathering, including his deputies and local officials.

The ceremony, scaled down because of coronavirus restrictions, was held at the assessor’s new main office in Gonzales. The Gonzales office, at 815 E. Worthey St., is the latest expansion under Smiley’s leadership. The Assessor’s Office has acquired two new locations to accommodate the influx of parish growth.

The ceremony began with the pledge led by Vietnam Purple Heart recipient and radio personality Roland Doucet. Residing over the inaugural tradition for Smiley was Roy Quezaire, former state representative and deputy director of the Port of South Louisiana.

Smiley’s wife, Ina, presented the ceremonial Bible and stood with him as he took his oath. Smiley was sworn in by longtime friend and retired Judge Marilyn Lambert, who has served as his officiant throughout his tenure as assessor.

Smiley expressed gratitude to his staff for its service and dedication and to the residents of Ascension Parish for “entrusting him with the duties of assessor for four more years.”

The assessor ran unopposed for this term.

“Not being able to open the doors for a public celebration to show my gratitude is bittersweet,” said Smiley, adding “I have always considered serving the citizens of Ascension an honor and a privilege that I will always cherish.”