Wheat says he won’t seek re-election

Published 12:48 am Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Longtime Washington Parish Councilman Ken Wheat said he is serving his last term and will not seek re-election in 2015.

Wheat, who will have served 24 years on the council and 30 years in parish government when his term expires, made the announcement during a council meeting Monday night. Wheat said he wants to spend more time with his granddaughters, who range in ages from 2 to 5.

“Granddaughters, beautiful granddaughters,” said Wheat, who also has three children. “I want to cherish that time in this phase of my life.

“It was a difficult decision,” he added. “I’ve loved what I do. I’ve become a better person because of the people I’ve worked with. I’m not talking about elected officials, I’m talking about people in the parish.”

Wheat, perhaps the most vocal of the parish councilmen, said he is hoping by announcing his intentions he will be able to emphasize the importance of approving a proposed .33-cent sales tax increase during a special election April 6. He said he could have easily avoided taking a stand and retired with a clean slate of not having raised taxes.

“I couldn’t consciously do that, knowing how important this is to the citizens of this parish,” said Wheat, who was originally elected when the parish operated under the old police jury system of government. “If I go out accomplishing (helping getting the tax approved), I’ll know that for years after my departure I have at least done something contributing to the safety of everyone in Washington Parish. I’ll go out fighting for that.”

Wheat is the only incumbents to announce he will not seek re-election.