Opioid Epidemic

Like the rest of the country, Ascension Parish has witnessed the destruction wrought by Opioid Abuse.   Rare is the person who has not had a family member or a friend who hasn’t been touched by this health epidemic.  It will take commitment from all at every level to turn this crisis around.

The Ascension Counseling Center provides outpatient and mental health and substance abuse treatment to Ascension residents. This parish agency should apply for grant monies on the state and federal level to further this goal.

  • Short term.  Continue allocating resources through the Health Unit to provide out-patient treatment for citizens in recovery and support services for their families.
  • Long Term.   Apply for and gain available grant monies to establish a parish-owned rehab facility.

Read about my personal battle and overcome of opioid use here

Responsible Development

We are fortunate to enjoy a quality of life that is attractive to prospective residents, thousands of whom have migrated to our parish over the last two decades.  Nearly 50,000 new residents and another 75,000 expected over the next two decades. Ascension’s infrastructure network is overwhelmed.  The Parish Council fails to meet the challenge, refuses to enact policy to protect our quality of life.

All of us suffer the consequences: traffic congestion, impaired drainage, overcrowded schools, compromised public safety…the list goes on.

It is time for that to change; time to require actual investment from developers doing business in our parish; time to accept the fact that some areas of our parish are unsuitable for Major Subdivision development.

I, Joel Robert, will never appoint any individual to the Planning Commission who is only a rubber stamp of approval for subdivision development.  I promise to implement and enforce rigorous Traffic and Drainage Impact Analyses to ensure infrastructure is in place before Major Subdivisions are built.

Drainage Improvements

In August, 2016 Ascension suffered the worst flood in parish history.  Nearly 3 years later the Parish Council has not fully assessed this devastating disaster; failing to prepare for the next flood.

Promises made in the Follet Plan in the mid-1980’s have been ignored.  Floodplain Management has been delayed for years, projects languishing on the drawing board for two decades… Even regular maintenance of drainage ditches and canals has proven beyond the capability of elected officials.

Ascension taxpayers contribute over $20 million annually to fund the East and West Ascension Drainage Boards.  Where has all that money gone? I demand transparency;  I will get answers to this question.

As your District 2 Councilman and Drainage Board Commissioner:

I will push for change, starting with a continuous maintenance program; the simplest and most cost-effective measure we can undertake.

The Town of Sorrento must have levee protection as laid out in the Follet Plan.

Panama Canal/Conway Bayou must be cleared of impediments to drainage and maintained on a regular basis.

We cannot continue to allow Major Subdivision development in the floodplain; adding massive amounts of dirt and concrete which takes up vital water storage capacity during rain events.

  • Limited fill
  • Wise expenditures of $100 million
  • Invest drainage tax money in actual projects that mitigate flooding

Traffic Safety

Traffic congestion is awful, and worsens with every new development.  Most corridors cannot handle existing traffic, no more major subdivisions until infrastructure catches up. Currently, our Highway 44 corridor in District 2 is experiencing unprecedented growth.  Three Major Subdivisions; Riverton, Oak Lake and Conway are now under construction which will add another 5,000 vehicles to the corridor every day. Until Hwy 44 is four-laned to River Road, the area cannot sustain any new major subdivisions.

Safe access for residents entering Hwy. 44 from Loosemore Road/Hwy. 941 is one of my highest priorities.  The danger for residents and those motorists at this intersection is unacceptable.  Even though there have been numerous accidents at this intersection, DOTD has refused to install a traffic light.  A proposed roundabout will not be completed for years.  DOTD needs to install a stoplight NOW!

The council has focused road improvements in North Ascension, ignoring the deplorable conditions of District 2.