Almost two years into his first term, recreation is still a priority for Lawler. He said it's one thing he believes doesn't get enough attention in the parish.
A true public servant, Councilman Aaron Lawler has been giving back to the community most of his life. Even in grade school, he served on the Red Cross Council and Student Council. That continued through high school and college. After that he worked as a legislative aid for the Louisiana State Senate.
His service in Ascension Parish began when he volunteered for Better Recreation Now. Unfortunately it did not pass, which prompted him to enter the race for the District 7 seat on the Ascension Parish Council. After getting the necessary go-ahead from his wife and kids, Lawler began campaigning and won.
Almost two years into his first term, recreation is still a priority for Lawler. He said it's one thing he believes doesn't get enough attention in the parish. He'd like to see improvements made to parks throughout the parish to make them a safe place for families to enjoy the outdoors and stay active.
Lawler noted that recreation is not just sports. An avid kayaker, he'd like to see water activities brought to Bayou Manchac. Performance arts is another area in which the parish could use more programs. These kinds of programs can keep area children out of trouble by offering wholesome after school activities.
"I would love to have some sort of performing arts center for the parish. We've got a lot of dance academies and cheer academies that go outside the parish to do things," Lawler said. "Let's keep them here and give our people the opportunity."
As the transportation chairman, upgrading roads in the parish is also a key issue. Lawler said transportation is something that impacts not only his district, but the entire parish. Traffic issues have to be tackled as a whole, he said.
"We can fix 42, but as soon as you leave 42, you're going to hit more traffic. So we have to fix other things," Lawler said.
Transportation, he said, is about more than just getting drivers from Point A to Point B. It helps with economic development, property value, and a whole host of other factors.
Unfortunately the parish council has to tackle more controversial issues than just parks and dancing. On big issues like tax exemptions and parish politics, Lawler said he takes it one topic at a time and doesn't let one issue cloud another.
"My ultimate goal is I want to do what's right for Prairieville, and I want to do what's right for Ascension," said Lawler. " . . . I'm not here to make everybody happy. I'm here to do what's best, and it's not an easy decision."
Lawler keeps his constituents in mind with every vote that comes up. He stays in touch with voters through social media and is even planning town hall meetings, as well. He encourages residents to call him with any concerns, touting an open door policy for parish residents both inside and outside of his district. He can sometimes be seen riding his bike through his district, stopping to chat with people along the way.
The newest member on the council, Lawler gets along well with his colleagues. Sure he has disagreements with them on some issues, but he doesn't let that get in the way of working towards the greater good.
"Some people view 'compromise' as a bad word," said Lawler. "If you're married, you know it's not."
When tensions rise, Lawler often calls on other members to remember why they ran for office. It certainly wasn't for the money or the ego. He believes they're all there with the goal of making Ascension Parish a better place for the people.
The councilman said he's a dad and a husband first and a politician never. He doesn't have a driver or a team of police escorts. He said he still does all the dad things like getting kids to and from soccer practice. Those real life issues help him stay grounded.
"I'm you. I was just stupid enough to run, and I was unfortunate enough to win," Lawler chuckled.
Lawler and his wife, Julie, have been married since 2001. They have three boys, so needless to say, they've got their hands full. The boys are 10, 12, and 14, meaning this year they have one in primary, middle, and high school.
The Lawlers love to go fishing as a family in Grand Isle. If they're at home, the family can also be found throwing a football in the back yard. Family activities are important to Lawler, which is why he's pushing to make recreation and family fun a priority in the parish.
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