Meet the candidates: 3 of 5 Westlake Council seats to be decided in Nov.

Published 12:00 pm Saturday, August 20, 2022

In Westlake, citizens will be voting to fill three council seats in November.

In Division A they’ll choose between Lori Ellis Peterson, Cierra L. George, “Skeeter” Hayes (incumbent) and Chase White.

Incumbent Jeremy Cryer is running against Rick Seasock in Division B.

Candidates for Division C are Clayton Rougeou, Brian Sacksteder and William “Bill” Trimm.

Freddie Harrison III is running unopposed for Division D.

Incumbent “Kenny” Brown, Division E, is unopposed.

Each candidate provided information highlighting why they thought they would best serve the community.

Division A

PETERSON: Council members’ responsibilities are clear and substantial to the welfare of each citizen. Duties include: Review and approval of annual budget, determining short and long term priorities, establish tax rates, ordinances and resolutions passage, zoning laws oversight, establish licensing for businesses in the city. Act as a liaison to other levels of government. Inform constituents of policies, ordinances. Lastly, of greatest importance, listen to the needs and complaints of our residents.

My public service resume began as Recreation District No. 1 Board Member. During my tenure, many significant accomplishments were achieved, including the construction of the Multi-Purpose Center. Served as Vice-President during the planning and construction of this facility.

As a two term city council member, I authored and received a grant through the DOTD Safe Route to School Program. This grant provided for the construction of the sidewalk located on Shady Lane, from Sampson Street, to Walker Drive. Children walking to Westwood Elementary and Western Heights now have a safe route to school. This is the only grant of its kind ever awarded to Westlake.

Represented Westlake before a Louisiana House Committee regarding the city owned natural gas system. Testified regarding the importance of the system to Westlake. Authored and presented a Critical Infrastructure needs assessment on behalf of the city to area parish, and state officials. Proven experience with municipal budgets, bonds, tax revenue, contractual agreements, ordinances, residential restrictions, professional affiliations with other government entities, and local industry leaders within our community are the qualifications I bring to Westlake.

GEORGE: My family moved to Westlake in 2018. I jumped in feet first getting involved in clubs and organizations. In addition, I attend every Agenda Meeting and City Council Meeting. I have learned everything I could by printing the ordinances and the Local Government Budget Act. I have fallen in love with Westlake. However, I do think that we could make some changes that would stand to benefit everyone.

Have you ever wondered what Westlake would look like if Sampson Street were more appealing with landscaping? How about the homes that have been abandoned?

Your vote for Cierra George would clean up Westlake and increase revenue to make our city prosperous.

With my background in finance and commercial real estate law, I have proven my dedication to the city of Westlake through serving on the Zoning Board and in the Rotary Club. I am the best candidate for this position due to knowing our city inside and out. “A woman of action, not of words.”

HAYES: Serving the citizens of Westlake has been a tremendous honor and privilege, and one I don’t take lightly. When I took office eight years ago, the city of Westlake was fourteen million dollars in debt and on the brink of financial ruin. Our team knew we had to address some tough problems and make some unpopular decisions. We persevered, and I’m proud to announce our city’s debt has now been considerably reduced.

I’m reaching out to you, my friends, neighbors, & fellow citizens of Westlake to Let my Experience Continue to Work for You. I remain a strong voice for our conservative, even handed, and commonsense approach when handling our city’s financial affairs, and I believe the citizens of Westlake deserve nothing less.

WHITE: I’m not your stereotypical politician. I just love our city. This passion has been burning for many years, and I want to seize the opportunity to step up and fight for the people of Westlake. I will do everything in my power, while in office, to earn the respect and trust of our citizens, and be the leader that they deserve. I have a big and bright vision for the future of Westlake. We need to be more aggressive with cleaning up the city. We need to be proactive with our infrastructure so when it is time to grow, we will be ready. We have the opportunity to benefit from current and future projects, such as the casino expansion and downtown development, if we have the right plan in place. I consider myself a team guy, and I’m great at working with anyone to achieve common goals.

I plan to work with the mayor, other council members, neighboring local governments, and anyone else required to make things happen. I’ll work diligently with our police and fire departments, schools, youth programs, teachers, and new businesses to ensure they obtain the resources needed to be successful. All these things should be done with the best interest of our city at heart. My goal is to unite everyone by implementing things that benefit all and not just a few. I WILL be the councilman our citizens can count on to be honest, transparent, compassionate, hardworking, and that looks out for the entire city.

Division B

CRYER: I try to follow two simple governing principles: Number one, don’t spend more than you take in and number two, represent the people. A councilman is a direct representative of its citizens. The constituents’ needs should always be top priority. I have always listened to the people and represented the citizens of Westlake to the best of my abilities.

In the last eight years, the City has overcome many obstacles, a debt crisis, COVID and Hurricanes Laura and Delta. Thankfully the debt has been reduced by 75 percent thanks to the leadership of Mayor Hardey, but much work remains to finish the job. Hurricane restoration is another huge challenge that the city is faced with, that will take time, perseverance and determination to accomplish. I would also like to see the completion of the I-10 bridge and overpass as well as the development of our historic riverfront area.

It is crucial for the success of our city that we maintain good fiscal discipline/policy and be good stewards of the people’s money. We must support our police, fire and maintenance departments and assure they have the opportunity to succeed in their tasks. I have my faults as a person and councilman but this I know, I have always stepped up in tough times and faced whatever challenge I was presented with. I am a fighter and will always be in the fight for the people of Westlake and its best interests.

SEASOCK: I am the son of lifelong Westlake residents Walter and Inez Seasock. I have held two Vice President positions for industrial service companies and was a Chief Operating Officer for another. I am also a military veteran. I know what it takes to run a successful business and the City of Westlake is a business and needs to continue running as one. With this experience and your support I know I can make a positive difference for the city of Westlake and its residents.

As your Westlake City Councilman I would ensure that your needs and concerns would be addressed and resolved if possible. I know first hand about attending city council meetings with issues and not getting them resolved. This is what prompted me to run for city council, the people of Westlake need a strong voice that they can count on to get things done with your support. We “WILL” make a difference!

Division C

ROUGEOU: ​​Working together! We need an administration that can and will, work together to accomplish great things for the city of Westlake. Growing up in Westlake and raising my family here, we have seen the good and bad in our city. My father, Tim Rougeou, was a small business owner, I grew up working with the public. My mother, Gail Crochet, retired from the Calcasieu Parish School Board as a bus driver for Westlake. My aunt, Amy Canter, owns Your Heart’s Desire. In my world of outside sales, I work with different people every day. Working and talking with people is something I have always enjoyed; I never meet a stranger.

Cleaning up our city is and should be a priority with everyone. It is time we enforce our codes for clean-up and help the citizens that need help with clean up. There is not a city street that does not have some type of damage or debris. I live next to an abandoned property. The issues from this property are still on-going. I don’t believe it’s a secret that Westlake is behind on projects, drainage and roads, to name a few. We were left in a great position to move forward with projects that are long overdue. When we work together the City of Westlake benefits. I ask for your support and vote on November 8th.

SACKSTEDER: I ask for your vote on Nov. 8th because I put 100 percent behind everything I do. I will continue serving the city that I love while being a voice for the citizens I serve. I will be available for questions, comments, suggestions, and also a helping hand. I will use my military and law enforcement background to serve as a leader and someone that kids will look up too. I will work with the fellow council, mayor, both chiefs and public work employees to find a better way to serve this community and help us grow together in the right direction. I will continue supporting the schools around our area in both programs and sports.

I am not afraid to say no to anyone on any level, or fight for what’s right, and will continue to be a loud and proud voice for Westlake. I look forward to meeting with as many people as I can over the next few months and even after. I will be active in this community for years to come on many levels. Please reach out to me anytime and thanks again for your time

TRIMM: I am a husband, a father, and a grandfather. I have four kids and seven grandchildren. I believe in God, our country, and that all of the Citizens of Westlake should have a voice in how their city is operated. We all want our community to grow and thrive. One of the ways that we do this is to beautify our residential and commercial areas so that businesses and residents are proud to be here.

We can still see the remnants of the storms that we have all endured. It is past time that we clean up our beautiful city. I want to ensure that the Westlake City Council represents the voices of the community. I want to make extra effort to take care of our school staff and first responders. I feel we need to promote and take advantage of our water access, and further our relationship with the casino.

I have been a CPA since 1995. I served in the military from 1976 to 1980. I am a member of Lake Charles Bible Church and have been the treasurer since 2000. I am not a politician; I just feel that I have unique financial skills that would be very useful in reviewing and potentially improving our financial position. I will be seeking the opinions of the Westlake residents to find out what they want from their City Council.