Local Senate district race adds two

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 20, 2011



LAPLACE – A pair of St. Charles Parish residents have announced their candidacies for the District 19 State Senate seat in the Oct. 22 general election.

Gary L. Smith of Norco, who represents District 56 in the current state House of Representatives, will face off against Luling small businessman Garrett Monti. Joel Chaisson II currently holds the seat, which represents portions of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, Jefferson and Lafourche parishes, but the Destrehan native cannot run again because of term limits.

Smith said his 12 years of experience in the House allowed him to forge a partnership with Chaisson in the Senate to provide “unique opportunities” for the region.

“I want to finish the projects we started as well as work toward new goals to catapult our area and the state to new heights,” Smith said. “My experience and leadership in the Legislature, along with my seniority and understanding of the law, has and will continue to afford me the opportunity to work across party lines to build coalitions and improve Louisiana.”

Smith said during his time in the House, he has worked to improve hurricane protection, drainage and roads in the region, while boosting pay for teachers and police. He has focused on economic development, job creation and reducing the size and spending of state government and its employees.

“With our local and federal partners, I will continue to fight to make Louisiana a better, safer, healthier place to live and work,” Smith said. “My door has always been and will remain open to hear your concerns and find solutions to our problems.”

Monti said his decision to run was influenced by his desire to find solutions on job creation, economic development and fiscal restraint in Baton Rouge.

“The people of the River Parishes and Bayou Region deserve responsible conservative leadership from their state senator,” Monti said. “We need someone who will represent both sides of the river with sound fiscal policies and conservative Louisiana values.”

Monti said he would focus on lowering taxes, creating a more business-friendly environment in Louisiana, creating jobs, improving education and making government work more effectively and efficiently for Louisiana families.

Monti is general manager of Quality Cleaning Equipment & Supply of Boutte, a family-owned business started by his father. He is also a notary public. He lives in Luling with his wife.

Qualifying for all races in the Oct. 22 general election begins Sept. 6.