Gauff in as Assessor; final Parish Council seats filled

Published 10:06 pm Saturday, November 21, 2015

LAPLACE — In what proved to be the most hotly contested local election of the day, Lucien Gauff III was elected St. John Parish Assessor.

Gauff narrowly topped Kevin Prudhomme by 164 votes to secure a 7,998-vote to 7,834-vote victory.

Gauff of LaPlace is a Chemical Operator and current St. John the Baptist Parish Council member.

Before the election, he said his goal was to work, along with his staff on the East and West Banks, to make sure accurate assessments are made.

“When inaccuracies are discovered or brought to our attention, we will quickly correct mistakes,” he said. “My staff and I will be committed to the job and will provide excellent customer service. I am committed to improving technology and working with governmental entities, including the Sheriff’s Office, Economic Development, and small business associations.”

In other election news, Larry Sorapuru Jr. of Edgard was voted in Saturday as the Division A Councilman at Large representative on the St. John the Baptist Parish Council.

Sorapuru fended off a runoff challenge from Sylvia Taylor-Dunn for the seat previously occupied by Gauff.

Before the election, Sorapuru said if fortunate to be elected, his top priority would be to expand and modernize infrastructure in the community to make St. John the Baptist Parish a safe and attractive place for businesses to operate and for people to live.

“I have a unique combination of problem solving skills and a long-time commitment to helping others in the community,” he said at the outset of the election. “I am loyal, reliable and enjoy working with others to address challenges in our community.

“St. John the Baptist Parish means a place that I call home and where I feel a sense of belonging with people that I love and care about.”

It was a message that reached voters as Sorapuru secured 4,414 votes Saturday (56.5 percent), compared to Taylor-Dunn’s final tally of 3,398 votes.

In a sea change for residents in District 2, voters selected Julia Remondet as their representative for St. John the Baptist Parish Council.

The retired Economic Development Director from St. John the Baptist Parish defeated incumbent Ranney Wilson.

Remondet collected 1,602 votes, compared to Wilson’s 850.

Remondet told voters her goals were to improve drainage throughout District 2.

“We need to establish a closer working relationship with the railroads in an effort to clean and repair the railway drainage culverts,” she said, adding the parish needs to evaluate the effectiveness of that drainage and find solutions to long-standing drainage issues and get it done.

“There are areas of District 2 where residents have water coming in their homes on a regular basis from rain,” she said.

Remondet said communication is vital to the success of any council member, adding she would be available for calls and various meetings throughout the day for all District residents.

In the District 1 race for St. John Baptist Parish Council, Kurt Becnel collected 1,578 votes (57.78 percent) to top Lester “Coach” Smith, who collected 1,153 votes.

In the race for District 3 Justice of the Peace, Rob Snyder won with 1,114 votes, compared to Darlene Triche-Hall’s 1051 votes.