Johnny Berthelot

Johnny Berthelot

GONZALES - State Rep. Johnny Berthelot, who served as mayor of Gonzales for 24 years, is running for a seat on the Gonzales City Council in the Nov. 3 election.

Berthelot, who announced last summer that he wouldn't be seeking a third term in state office this year, is running for the Division E seat  on the five-member City Council, a seat currently held by Neal Bourque, who on Wednesday, the first day of qualifying for candidates, was not on the ballot.

Berthelot, a native of Gonzales, said he decided last year not to run again for state office, so he could spend more time with his grandchildren.

"When I decided not to run (for state office), I thought that if there was ever an open spot on the city council, I might run," Berthelot said. "The Gonzales City Council is where I started my life in politics."

Berthelot, who's 68, said he was in his 20s when he was elected in 1976 to the Gonzales Board of Aldermen. The following year, Gonzales was incorporated as a city, with a city council form of government.

Berthelot served two terms on the council before he was elected as the city's mayor in 1984; he was re-elected successively until he retired as mayor in 2008. Berthelot was elected to his first term in the state House of Representatives for District 88 in 2011.

"I love Gonzales," Berthelot said. "Serving the community is still in my blood."

Berthelot was the first candidate to register for the Gonzales City Council's Division E seat with the Ascension Parish Clerk of Court's Office on Wednesday morning, when qualifying opened.

Formerly Republican, he qualified as an Independent.

Qualifying will continue through Friday. 

Email Ellyn Couvillion at ecouvillion@theadvocate.com.