Lafourche voters today approved term limits for the parish president and Parish Council.
Parish presidents will now be able to serve up to two consecutive four-year terms, and council members will be able to serve up to three consecutive four-year terms.
The measures will take effect with terms beginning in 2020 and will not apply retroactively.
According to complete but unofficial results, the proposition for parish president term limits passed by 73 percent to 27 percent, or 11,403 votes to 4,259. Of the parish's 59,251 registered voters, 26.4 cast ballots.
The proposition for council member term limits passed by 71 percent to 29 percent, or 11,058 votes to 4,535, according to complete but unofficial results. Of the parish's 59,251 registered voters, 26.3 cast ballots.
First-time councilmen Aaron "Bo" Melvin and Corey Perrillioux proposed the measure, which the council approved putting on the ballot in an 8-1 vote in August.
Perrillioux said after constituents asked about term limits, he decided to push the measure so voters could have a say. He thanked residents for going out to vote.
"I didn't have a preference either way, I just wanted to do my job," he said. "I think it's healthy for local politics to have term limits. I think things can get stagnant if someone's in office too long. Fresh ideas can help."
Melvin said constituents had also spoken with him about term limits, of which he's in favor.
"I'm happy that it went through," he said. "It's going to give people who want to get in political office a shot when the incumbent has to take a break. I just think it's going to open up some doors for some new folks to come in."
Daniel Lorraine, the only councilman who voted against putting the measure on the ballot, lamented the low voter turnout and said he'll continue challenging the term limits. He is in his ninth term.
"I've got 15 more years to go after this," he said. "I'll go 'til they turn me out, I get beat or I die. ... I think as long as you're doing a pretty good job, you should be able to run."
He said new council members may take a while to learn and get used to their positions, which could limit their productivity.
Thibodaux voters passed a similar Home Rule Charter amendment in March, limiting City Council members to three consecutive four-year terms. Terrebonne voters enacted two-term limits for parish presidents and council members in the mid-1990s.
-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.