Friday, Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux announced that he will not seek re-election in the fall.
Robideaux is backtracking on earlier statements that he would seek a second term in the Mayor’s Office.
He said during a news conference that he has done everything he was elected to do.
After his announcement, Robideaux quickly walked away from the podium and ignored our questions after his surprise announcement.
The former Louisiana legislator was sworn in as Mayor-President in January 2016.
Robideaux boasted about his achievements as Mayor-President.
He says Lafayette Parish is on solid financial footing and he is proud of where the parish is.
“We have proven that it is possible for government to live within its means, and too often, for many, the immediate solution is to raise taxes,” Robideaux said. “We worked very hard not to take the easy way out.”
Robideaux said under his leadership, more money has been dedicated to drainage, he’s helped shrink Lafayette’s unemployment rate, and he’s delivering on his promise for a no-kill shelter by 2020.
“I have done what I was elected to do,” Robideaux said.
KATC political analyst Pearson Cross said, “Political observers have often wondered if Joel has lost his touch.”
Cross said throughout Robideaux’s tenure, there have been several missteps.
“In terms of tax bills that he did or did not support, the drag queen reading at the library, funds for the library, it’s been a rough go,” said Cross.
Cross said Robideaux also faced several scandals within his administration, including the management of LUS and, most recently, questions surrounding his aide, Marcus Bruno.
“The problems of being a chief administrator of a city are different than being in the legislature. Maybe I guess he figured this isn’t his cup of tea,” Cross said.
Robideaux said, “I will serve the remaining nine months of my term with the same level of dedication and effort. I will always love Lafayette and be one of it’s greatest ambassadors when called upon.”
Cross believes Robideaux had more in store.
“My sense is that he had more in store, that there were still things that were left undone, but he is picking this time, for whatever reason we don’t know, to step aside. Clearly, there is still a lot to do in Lafayette,” said Cross.
Qualifying for the Mayor-President’s race will take place in August.