NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The man elected over the weekend to lead Plaquemines Parish for the next four years said Monday (Dec. 10) that he is ready to tackle the budget and other problems facing his community.
"[I] was excited, we worked very hard getting our vote out and we were successful in the early vote,” Kirk Lepine, republican Plaquemines Parish President-elect, said.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, Lepine received 3,625 votes compared to current Parish President Amos Cormier, who received 3,289 votes.
"We made it close, but we came up a little short,” Cormier said to his supporters on election night.
Cormier also said he wanted the best for the parish in the future.
"We are people of faith and we’re going to keep working for the good of Plaquemines Parish. It’s an unfortunate reality, we are a very divided parish,” Cormier said.
Lepine has spent eight years on the parish council and said he knows the budget challenges well.
"Oil and gas revenues are down…We think we will be okay next year, the problem is we won't be able to hire any excess workforce because we had to take that out of the budget when we took those vacant, funded positions out, so there will be some challenges,” Lepine said.
Still, Lepine insisted that providing adequate services for residents will be a priority.
"The services were not cut in the budget, so we do have basic services that everyone is entitled to, and we will provide those services,” he said.
And Lepine said he is not waiting to be inaugurated as parish president to begin his efforts to increase economic development.
"Before this interview I traveled down to Buras, there was an opening of a new restaurant down there, I was pleased to talk to the new owner, I welcomed them, I thanked them, on the way up I stopped in Port Sulphur at another restaurant opening up,” Lepine said.
And the incoming parish president said he believes he will have a good relationship with the legislative branch of government.
"I think I bring that continuity to the table being the council chairman twice, working with 14 different council members,” Lepine said.
FOX 8 News requested an interview with Cormier for this story, but instead his spokeswoman said Cormier wishes Lepine and his new administration well, and that he hopes Lepine will continue to move the parish forward.
Lepine takes office in January.