Supporters of Chase Melancon’s bid to unseat three-term District 6 Parish Council incumbent Randy Clouatre filled The Venue Saturday evening in an atmosphere unsullied by the specter of elected officialdom. An impressive number of volunteers sported St. Amant HS black and gold campaign in support of Melancon’s grassroots effort eschewing contributions from “any special interest.” Easier said than done though there were plenty of folks in attendance who, hopefully, brought their checkbooks on Saturday.
“The encouragement I’ve received, people urging me to get involved, made a big impression,” the candidate told his followers. “The support I’ve gotten since announcing my candidacy a few months ago has been phenomenal. I can’t wait to go to work for all of you.”
“I promise you, at no point will you ever see a single penny from out of parish developers, engineering companies, or any other special interest in my campaign account,” Chase Melancon vowed. “I do not care about their interests, only the people of District 6.”
The incumbent cannot say the same.
Randy Clouatre won the District 6 seat over two opponents on October 20, 2007 when his campaign was largely financed by private individuals, nearly all of them local. In the month following his election $1,950 was forthcoming from four engineering firms. Burk-Kleinpeter, Inc. ponied up a max contribution ($1,000) on November 19, 2007. $1,500 more Baton Rouge corporate dollars followed in mid-2008.
Clouatre would win re-election twice (2011 and 2015) without opposition. Between the 2011 Qualifying Date and the end of the year his campaign received $7,750 with BKI ownership contributing another $1,000. Among the parish contracts awarded to BKI over the years is the ever-lucrative improvement/maintenance of Marvin Braud pumping station’s (now) seven pumps.
In 2014-15, running unopposed again, Clouatre took in another $8,050 from a similar cast of characters. BKI was good for another $1,000.
“I can’t explain it, why anyone would need a steady flow of cash when running unopposed,” Melancon responded. “I do know that we continue to face serious drainage problems when our available funding is creeping up on the $100 Million mark. It’s not a funding, but a leadership issue.”
“Drainage is as bad as it’s ever been in St. Amant and other areas of the parish,” he said. “There’s no excuse for it.”