Jan. 2, 2015 01:42 PM

District 4 Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux is a well-respected, politically savvy bridge builder, and he could be a spoiler in this year’s election for city-parish president.

Kenneth Boudreaux
Photo by Robin May

District 4 Councilmen Kenneth Boudreaux has heard the talk going on a year now: It’ll be Dee Stanley or Joel Robideaux as the next city-parish president.

But don’t count Boudreaux out.

The popular councilman now entering the home stretch of his second term representing Lafayette’s poorest district — and a virtual lock for a third term should he choose to seek it — says he’s 50-50 on entering the fray with Stanley and Robideaux.

Confident without being cocky, Boudreaux says he could definitely get into a runoff: “My level of approval even in the unincorporated part of the parish I think is as good as anyone’s,” he says. “A runoff is handsdown — the question is could I win it.”

It would be a long-shot to be sure, but Boudreaux’s political calculus also includes expanding the election debate to encompass voters’ concerns in north Lafayette — crime, education and economic development in particular.

“I look at George Bowles so often,” Boudreaux says, referring to the first black resident to run for Lafayette mayor back in the 1970s. “His widow still lives in the district, and I look at the impact he had on the mayor’s race when he ran.

“He was the X factor; it changes the conversation. You’re going to have to talk about everything. You can’t focus on things that are just dear to your base.”

The 1986 graduate of Northside High School is fiercely loyal to his district, and he worries about a leadership vacuum should he vacate his council seat to run for C-P president and fail to win. “If I cannot win it am I prepared to step away for four years — not so much for me but for what may happen as a government? Will my participation be of greater benefit than my returning to the council, meaning can I drive the conversation?” But the councilman says if he enters the race he would be in it to win it, and he’s well aware that Stanley and Robideaux — south side Republicans who are more similar than different and who will be fighting for the same suburban voters — in many ways cancel each other out: “Let’s say hypothetically I get in the race, and there’s three candidates — I’m going to the runoff; that is a no if-ands-or buts about it.” — WP