The two candidates vying to replace interim District 5 Councilman Craig Jaccuzzo are both passionate advocates for the Bayou Blue community.

District 5 includes the western border of Lafourche Parish from Bayou Blue to Pointe-aux-Chenes. The district has had seven different representatives in the past 20 years, all lasting only one term since Ernest "Tibby" Boudreaux left the office in 2000. Its last elected councilman, James Bourgeois, was suspended from the seat pending an appeal for his conviction of filing false public records.

The two candidates for this seat, Albert Louis Martin Jr. and Jim Wendell, have agreed on some ideas, like the need for communication, attracting business and supporting coastal restoration efforts.

Wendell has been more vocal about possible changes to the parish charter and bringing in outside help to evaluate the current state of the parish, including its taxes, spending and programs.

Early voting begins Sept. 28 ahead of the Oct. 12 election.

Here are the candidates answers' to The Courier and Daily Comet’s campaign questionnaire. Responses have been edited for brevity.

What would be your top three priorities if elected?

Martin: Roads and bridges, levees and drainage, and tax reform.

Wendell: Communication and transparency between government and the public, as well as administration and council. Coastal protection and restoration to protect our communities and property. Economic development and infrastructure support to grow the community.

How can the Parish Council foster economic development?

Martin: Attract more industries into parish by finishing the four-lane to Port Fourchon.

Wendell: Hire a professional who can evaluate our situation and recommend what can be changed to attract new residents and businesses and make Lafourche a place that anyone would be proud to call home. I would support tax incentives for incoming business and any other improvement that would affect our quality of life in Lafourche.

How would you resolve the decades of tensions between the executive branch and the parish council?

Martin: Every year the executive branch and parish council should meet to discuss a plan so they are on the same page, work together and not jump ahead of themselves.

Wendell: "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." Treat others with respect so there is communication, cooperation and forward movement with issues in the parish.

What should the Parish Council do to address coastal restoration and hurricane protection?

Martin: We need to divert more fresh water into the area to restore wetlands, dredge Bayou Lafourche, and use grants and work with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Wendell: Take the advice of professionals, boards and commissions that study and work with our coast on a daily basis. Support projects that contribute to restoration of our lost land, building up of current stable areas, barrier island revitalization and effective drainage and pumping systems to get rid of stormwater to prevent flooding.

Would you support any changes to the parish Home Rule Charter? If so, what changes would you make?

Martin: Tax-free if it were for the better.

Wendell: An evaluation of the current operating structure needs to be looked at to ensure effectiveness. We can no longer operate under the premise of "that's the way we have always done it." No major plans other than making sure we are operating using the best practices, while providing service to residents. We can learn from others' mistakes and improve efficiency without trying to reinvent the wheel.

Do you think parish government has enough money to provide the services residents want and expect? Would you vote for a tax if you were convinced the money would go to a necessary public service? Please explain your reasoning.

Martin: No, due to the economic downturn. This is why we need to use grants.

Wendell: The current tax structure is sufficient to support current services. Should the need arise to approach residents for an additional tax, I would communicate the need and get feedback from residents as well as researching to make sure additional money is needed and not just wanted. I plan to represent the wishes of the district based on need and spend the public money wisely as if it were my own.

Are there services you would propose cutting if you are elected? What are they and why would you seek to reduce or eliminate them?

Martin: Impossible answer; everything would have to be cut across the board at a fair percentage.

Wendell: An audit of programs and services is needed before cuts or additions are acted on. There is always room for improvement, but we also have to make sure services that affect the community will not suffer before making decisions to cut anything.