The un-candidate in District 3

by Walter Pierce

Can a Tea Party-leaning Republican win a seat on the City-Parish Council in a district that is majority black? Ursula Anderson thinks so.

Photo by Robin May

Ursula Anderson wants to represent District 3 on the Lafayette City-Parish Council. She announced her candidacy Tuesday evening and will join fellow first-time candidate Pat Lewis in challenging two-term incumbent Councilman Brandon Shelvin for the seat representing the majority black district on the city’s north side.

Anderson was introduced to a small crowd of family and supporters in the atrium at Gordon Square Downtown by former District 3 school board member Shelton Cobb, who called her a “go-getter.”

Superficially, Anderson is not an atypical candidate for District 3 — a black woman who was raised in the district. But her political affiliations will likely give plenty of voters in the District 3 pause: She’s a Republican, and on her push card she cites membership in Acadiana Patriots, a far-right, Tea Party-type group; Concerned Women of America, another strongly conservative activist group; as well as Louisiana Family Forum, which, well, need we say more? Guests at the announcement included a representative of the Tea Party of Lafayette who also serves as a field rep for the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity.

The single mother of two earned a bachelor’s degree in organizational and public communication from UL Lafayette. She is employed by the Desormeaux Foundation, a pro-life nonprofit that operates a pregnancy crisis center in Lafayette, among other anti-abortion activities.

“Considering that I have been involved in politics for a few years, I just feel that the citizens in the district have received improper representation for the past eight years,” Anderson told The IND moments before the announcement. “I feel the citizens of the community need better representation.”