Editor and Contributing Writer
Photographs: Freddie Herpin
Featured Photograph: Charlee Renaud speaks to a crowd Tuesday night as she formally announces her 2022 mayoral campaign
Charlee Renaud Lear grew up wanting to become mayor of Opelousas. Now she gets a second chance to realize that dream.
Lear formally announced her 2022 mayoral campaign Tuesday night just steps away from City Hall where she hopes in January she can start redirecting Opelousas and implementing a plan that she thinks will focus her vision for municipal government.
“The people (in Opelousas) are good people and I love Opelousas. I look around and I see the people here want more. I really can’t rest until I can help make Opelousas what it should be,” Lear said during an interview with St. Landry Now.
Lear finished third in the 2018 mayoral race. Incumbent Mayor Julius Alsandor has indicated through interviews that he plans to run for a second term.
During her introductory speech delivered before a sizable crowd at La Petit Bellevue Chateau in downtown Opelousas, Lear 40, said she plans to stress administrative accountability and promote mayoral visibility. “I won’t be a mayor that sits back hiding behind a desk and a locked door. I will go out and visit personally all the neighborhoods the day after the election. You call me and I’ll answer. Drop by and the door in City Hall will be open. I know what I can and cannot do,” she told those who attended her campaign function.
Lear also pointed to the conditions of Opelousas streets and the water leaks that seem to develop almost constantly underneath the roadway surfaces.“Roads are an issue. So are the 35 or so water leaks that are on the roads and in your yards. We have to fix the leaks and I will do my part about that. There’s going to be money that’s coming for the roads,” Lear added.
Lear also pointed to the city’s summer recreation program. Look at the two city parks Lear said and there is virtually no summertime activity inside of them. “We have to revitalize our parks. Our kids need something to do in the summer. We need the pools open, swimming and all the sports, with kids playing baseball, softball, soccer. That’s not happening right now,” said Lear, who operates a private law practice in Opelousas.
Lear also acknowledged what she indicated is a city-wide crime problem.“I will work to protect all of our citizens from crime. I want to pay our officers better and keep them here. We need to work to find ways to keep guns out of children’s hands,” Lear said.
Lear said her plan to facilitate her concept of better accountability will start immediately after she is elected.“I will meet personally with each of the department head and discuss the problems within their departments. I want people in Opelousas to be welcomed at City Hall and feel comfortable when they do business there. We have no time to waste doing this,” Lear added.
Lear said monitoring water usage and providing more accuracy with monthly water department billing will also become a priority.“We can’t have our people getting $200 water bills anymore because of the leaks. In order to inform the citizens of taking care of problems like these. To develop transparency and that and other problems I am going to begin a system of sending out city-wide texts and press releases in order to get out all the information that people need,” Lear noted.
Lear indicated during the interview that she was already making plans to run in 2022 after she failed to make the mayoral runoff in 2018.“I decided to run for mayor on Nov. 8, 2018. I can’t wait any longer for this city to have what needs to be done. We are not making the type of progress that we need to have here in Opelousas. We can’t wait any longer,” Lear said in the interview.