Robottom to seek job as parish president

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 18, 2006



LAPLACE – It may be over a year away, but interest has been brewing for some time about who will run for St. John parish president since Nickie Monica can not return due to term limits.

This week, the first big name candidate officially joined the list, as St. John Chief Administrative Officer Natalie Robottom ended much speculation by confirming to L’Observateur that she has decided to run for the position.

&#8220I’ve never run for any political office before, and when I took this job I never once thought I would do this,” she said. &#8220But being here for several years, and learning so much about the parish government, I think I’m in the best position to continue getting the work done that we have started.”

Robottom said she was actually asked about running for the position almost immediately after Monica was re-elected in 2004.

&#8220Everyone knew Nickie was not going to run again, and there were already people making plans to run,” she said. &#8220So I guess it was natural I would be asked, since I was his top assistant.”

Robottom said she never seriously considered the position until recently, when the persistent requests by groups and individuals made her start thinking about it.

&#8220I kept telling people that I absolutely was not going to do it, up until about six weeks ago,” she said. &#8220I was really approached a lot around that time, and felt like I needed to make a definite decision about it.”

The thing that changed her mind was that she has become so heavily involved in many key St. John projects, and wants to see them to completion.

&#8220I’m the kind of person who wants to see things all the way until they are finished,” she said. &#8220And I know about our projects as well as anyone, and think I can make sure we get them done properly.

Robottom has a B.A. from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, and a Masters degree from LSU, both in Communication Disorders. She worked for 22 years with the St. John school system before Monica hired her as his chief assistant in 2004.

Robottom said she is not thrilled about dealing with the political side of running for office, but knows she can handle it.

&#8220I’m a straight forward person and I understand what I have to do to win an election,” she said. &#8220I would be happier having the job, and not the position, but the two go together.”

Robottom believes she has several key qualities that will make her right for the job.

&#8220I think you have to have good temperament, communication skills, be a problem solver and be goal oriented,” she said. &#8220And I believe I suit that kind of description well.”

She also admitted that she had been wooed for the job by some groups who liked the idea of her being the first woman, and the first African American, to be parish president in St. John.

&#8220I would never run for the position just for those reasons, but I have had some people talk to me about that,” she said. &#8220But in the end, I had the support of my family, and the support of a lot of political and business people who kept telling me they liked the job I was doing, and thought I could do the same as parish president.”

The election for parish president will be in the fall of 2007.