Former Kenner Mayor and Jefferson Parish Councilman Louis Congemi will run this fall for the office now held by at-large Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, Congemi announced Thursday. Roberts is seeking re-election to the seat.
Congemi said previously he would run for one of the Parish Council’s two at-large seats. His announcement Thursday confirmed which one.
Congemi’s announcement said he offers voters in the Oct. 24 primary “a strong record of progress and accomplishment,” and he charged that Roberts, a three-term councilman, had “abandoned” the concept of “politics for the people.”
Congemi, a 66-year-old Republican, was Kenner’s mayor from 1996 to 2003. He served on the Parish Council from 2004 to 2012 before term limits forced him off for a term. Congemi’s wife, Mildred, attempted to succeed him but dropped out ahead of the election.
Congemi — the brother of former Kenner Police Chief and current Causeway Police Chief Nick Congemi — enters the race for Roberts’ seat with a hefty campaign war chest. He reported having $265,299 in his campaign finance account in his most recent filing with the Louisiana Ethics Administration, which is from February.
In his announcement Thursday, Congemi said that as mayor he “led major expansions” in Kenner’s Laketown and Rivertown sections and also developed its city park. He also said he established a capital budget allowing for $20 million in infrastructure improvements and launched a beautification project credited with planting over 3,000 trees.
As a member of the Parish Council, Congemi said, he prioritized improving infrastructure and flood protection.
Roberts, meanwhile, has a deep base of support on the West Bank, especially around Gretna. He has not filed a campaign finance account report this year.
The other at-large Parish Council seat is now held by Elton Lagasse, who is running for parish president against Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni in the October primary.
District 5 Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng is running for the at-large seat Lagasse is vacating. Her campaign chairman is Newell Normand, Jefferson Parish’s influential sheriff.
Mike Thomas, John LaBruzzo and Jennifer Van Vrancken are running for the Metairie-based district seat that Lee-Sheng is leaving.