Monica declares run for Congressional seat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2006



LAPLACE — Nickie Monica believes timing is everything.

His decision to run for St. John Parish Council in 1996 was the right one, as he was elected in his first try. Then his run to become parish president was apparently perfect timing as he won in 2000, and re-elected in 2004.

Now Monica believes the timing is right for his biggest challenge ever, as he confirmed to L’Observateur on Monday that he is entering the race for U.S. House of Representatives, Third District.

Rumors have floated around St. John Parish for months about Monica’s interest in the seat, which will be up for election this fall, on Nov. 7.

Monica will probably be challenging current incumbent Charles Melancon, who won the position in 2004 in a close race with Billy Tauzin, Jr. The seat is for two years, and there are no term limits for U.S. representative.

Melancon is expected to run again, but Monica believes the timing is right for him to take his next big step politically to the U.S. Congress.

&#8220Everyone who knows me, knows that I am passionate about serving the people, and that is what I can bring to this position,” he said. &#8220I want to continue the same way in Washington as I am now-a person who anyone can contact and get a response from.”

Monica admitted he considered the position in 2004, but did not feel it would be right at the time since he had just been re-elected as parish president.

&#8220I felt an obligation to serve for the people here who had re-elected me,” he said. &#8220but now I think the timing is right for this since I’m in the final two years of my parish president position.”

Monica, age 45, believes that a start in Congress now will give him plenty of time to build seniority so he can best help the people of the Third District.

To win, Monica will have to reach a broad constituency since the Third District covers 11 parishes, and two small towns in Jefferson Parish. The district runs all the way from St. Bernard in the east, through New Orleans and the River Parishes, out to the far west of the state in parishes like New Iberia.

&#8220I have better support from here to St. Bernard than some people may know,” he said. &#8220And I believe I can build the support to the west since I have always come across to people as being sincere and someone they could identify with.”

Monica believes he gained the experience to be a strong congressman for the area as he has worked as parish president, seeking federal funds from Washington.

&#8220Since I’ve been parish president, St. John has received over $5 million in federal funds. I have learned how to work with the Washington crowd, and been involved in many committees that have brought funds back home. That’s what I want to do for this district if I get elected,” he said.

Monica was instrumental in bringing the $20 million Veterans Retirement Home to St. John, which will open on Airline Highway this fall, and now has approval for a new sewer system to be built in the parish.

Monica also believes his 20 years working for Marathon Oil, before going in public service, will pay a key role in the way he can succeed in Washington.

&#8220I was trained in crisis management, and I think those skills helped us do well through the hurricane recovery,” he said.

He said his decision was made with the full support of his family.

&#8220My wife has always been my biggest supporter and she is all for this,” he said. &#8220She is fully aware of the life of a congressman, but is behind me 100 percent.”

The only other announced candidate for the position so far is Craig Romero from New Iberia, although most experts believe Melancon is planning to run again.

&#8220This is a life altering decision, and it didn’t come without a lot of soul searching and praying,” Monica added. &#8220But I’m excited, and a little nervous too. Anyone who wasn’t a little nervous trying this must have something wrong with them. But I’m prepared for this, and I think the timing to do it is just perfect now.”