Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Will new leaders keep the region on track?

Once again, as so many times before, the challenge for a new beginning faces our parish governments throughout the River Region.

Every four years, after the new elections are over, there are promises of how much things will be better, and how much will be accomplished.

Sometimes it is done, and sometimes not.

But once again here in the River Region, that opportunity faces us.

More than ever, St. John and St. Charles parishes have that opportunity with a new parish president in each of those areas, as well as many new Parish Council members.

With new people comes new enthusiasm, new ideas, and hopefully a determination to not get bogged down in the politics of old when it comes to getting things accomplished.

In St. John Parish, businessman Bill Hubbard has promised a whole new look to the way government is run. His campaign promise to run government like a business was criticized by some, yet applauded by others.

Obviously a majority wanted to give him an opportunity, and on Monday morning after being sworn in as the new parish president, he expressed confidence at getting the job done.

Similarly in St. Charles Parish, new Parish President V.J. St. Pierre has an opportunity rarely seen as he will not only be the new face at the front of the parish government but is joined by a nine-member council which has all new members.

Anyone who suggests St. John Parish has not shown progress on many fronts is not being fair. There is a new sewer system and water system on the horizon, a new senior center, more recreation areas, a beautiful Community Center, new library facilities and the impressive trio of military-related buildings in Reserve that are a feather in the cap of St. John for securing all three right here.

But the criticism has come in the speed that some things were accomplished and the fact that the Parish Council has not managed to get other things finished.

In the next four years, voters will be watching to see long-standing projects finally get on the fast track, and continued improvement from the last four years in helping St. John remain progressive while maintaining its rural atmosphere we all love.