Liz Webb Hebert, Chair of the Lafayette City Council and representative for City Council District 3, joined Discover Lafayette to discuss her passion for service at the local level and working to improve the region’s quality of life.
Growing up in Carencro, Louisiana, and the baby girl of her family with four older brothers, Liz learned early about the importance of speaking up effectively for herself. A lifelong resident of Lafayette Parish, she graduated from Teurlings Catholic High School and Northwestern State University.
After college, she was blessed to work for wonderful bosses who gave her free rein in using her skills in an imaginative way: first for Leonard Louvierre of Zea Rotisserie & Bar in Lafayette, and then with Greg Davis and Pam Deville at the Cajundome Arena & Convention Center. The freedom she was afforded to execute her ideas to grow business opportunities are experiences she will always cherish.
Yet, Liz was called to explore service at a higher level as a young adult. “I’ve always wanted to make our community better,” Hebert explained, and her experience in Leadership Lafayette led her to better understand the issues facing our city and parish and how she could get involved in the process as an elected official.
In 2015, her mentors approached her to consider running for the Lafayette City-Parish Council which had an open seat upon the retirement of then-Councilman Keith Patin. With encouragement from her family and husband, Aaron Hebert, she leapt into the race, which included two formidable opponents who she describes as “incredible, friendly, courteous and kind.” She made the runoff and was elected to serve her first term on the Lafayette City-Parish Council which began in January 2016.
“Fix the Charter” was passed by Lafayette Parish residents and now we have two councils: the Lafayette City Council and the Lafayette Parish Council. Liz ran and was elected to serve in Lafayette Council District 3 and assumed office January 2020.
District 3 has 26,000 residents, and Liz says they are a joy to represent; they stay informed of the issues, are engaged, well-educated, and enjoy the highest wealth per capita among other districts in our city.
Typical issues brought to her attention by citizens include trash, rezoning issues, or concerns about not getting services. Proactive in her outreach to constituents, she attends meetings of Homeowners’ Associations in her district so she can stay on top of issues of importance. Liz always encourages people to first call 311 or go online to the 311 website to report concerns such as panhandling, animal control issues, noise complaints, etc. She also wants you to reach out to her via her Facebook page to message her about problems you need help with or to use the Next Door app.
Liz Hebert also sends out a monthly newsletter to keep people abreast of issues and you can subscribe here. She fields calls and emails for those of us outside of her district to request her support for the issues facing their neighborhood and welcomes us all to inform her of current concerns.
“I want my constituents to call me so we can address issues. I can’t fix a problem if I don’t know about it. People may be upset about an issue for a year before they call me and I could have helped them early on.” Liz Webb Hebert encouraging people to reach out for help.
Several initiatives to improve the quality of life in our community have seen fruition under Liz’s stewardship. The first one that has been visible to to the community is the Adopt-A Bus Stop Lafayette. Liz was approached by friends to see how they could help when they realized how many people, both employees and strangers, were sitting out in the heat, rain, and on the sidewalk with no bench to rest upon, waiting for the bus. Liz found out that the annual LCG budget only covers the cost of building eleven bus stop covers per year, which would never be enough in her lifetime to cover the several hundred uncovered bus stops.
In 2018, Liz Hebert established the Adopt A Bus Stop Fund, a designated fund of Community Foundation of Acadiana (CFA), to secure tax-deductible funding to build more than 600 shelters at Lafayette Transit System bus stops across the City of Lafayette. Donations from businesses and community leaders are being solicited to cover the cost of the construction for the shelters. The average cost of a three-sided bus shelter with a roof and concrete pad is $6,000; donations from $1.00 on up are gratefully accepted.
The Safe Exchange Program is another project Liz came up with, that occurred in her first year on the City-Parish Council. It can be dangerous to interact with strangers when you are selling goods online, yet many people didn’t realize the threat to their safety this can cause. In partnership with Lafayette City Police, there are now designated spots at the Police Department 24/7 where you can safely schedule meetings. It works to screen out ne’er-do-wells whose intentions may be less than proper and is monitored by the police via video camera.
Recent news of the replacement of the sound wall on Ambassador Caffery Parkway is another project in which Liz has directed her efforts, at the urging of her constituents in the newly constituted District 3 of the City Council. While running for office, she said, “Everyone asked how to fix the wall,” which had become dilapidated and was crumbling apart. The design of Ambassador Caffery Parkway is to direct flooding to the streets and away from the neighboring residential streets; this design has caused great damage to the wall as it absorbed flood waters over the years. She believes it is not just a safety issue but an aesthetic one that negatively reflects on our city to travelers from outside Lafayette Parish who drive in to shop. With the support of the Lafayette Parish Public Works Department and the Administration, the wall is in the process of being replaced.
A hot button issue in 2021 is a renewed interest in studying the possibility of “deconsolidation” of city and parish government in Lafayette Parish. The City Council voted unanimously in January 2021 to create the “Protect the City Committee.” Councilmember Pat Lewis, the author of the resolution creating the committee, hopes to have the following questions answered, among others: “How has the city of Lafayette’s share of the cost of government service changed over time compared to the parish? Are the city of Lafayette tax dollars being spent outside of the city limits of Lafayette? Is consolidation fair to the city of Lafayette taxpayers?…Would the city of Lafayette be better served by having its own elected mayor?”
Liz Hebert stressed that since the “Fix The Charter” amendment was passed, “she has never seen more community engagement and more conversation on where Lafayette City tax dollars are going. This is why having a separate City Council has been so beneficial. “Fix the Charter” opened our eyes and is allowing honest conversation about where our taxes go. We can ‘open the hood,’ see what’s wrong, and determine where we need to go.”
Lafayette Consolidated Government has worked to make its budgeting and expenditure processes more open and accessible to the general public. Visit https://lcg.openbook.questica.com/ to see where tax dollars are allocated and spent. This program has been a priority of the Josh Guillory administration.
In her day job, Liz Hebert serves as the Director of Business Development for Surgery Partners, LLC, a Nashville-based company owned by physicians, and in that capacity, she recruits physicians to bring their surgical cases to facilities owned by the group. She loves her job and is proud to be affiliated with “the physician-owned facilities known for low infection rates and high patient satisfaction rates.” Locally, one of the facilities under their umbrella is Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital.
Liz serves on the board of directors for Acadiana Animal Aid. She has also served on the board of the 705 Young Professionals, is past president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Acadiana, and served as president of her homeowners’ association for 9 years.
Liz has been recognized as one of the Daily Advertiser’s “Top 20 Young Professionals under 40”, the Independent’s 2015 “Influencer of the Year” and ABIZ 2016 “Trailblazer of the Year” for Women Who Mean Business Awards. She was awarded the “Women of Excellence” award in 2018 by the Lafayette Commission on the Needs of Women. She is a graduate of Leadership Lafayette and has served as chair of Leadership Lafayette and Junior Leadership Programs.
Married to Aaron Hebert of Lafayette, they have two dogs, Lady and Batman.
We thank Liz Webb Hebert for her dedicated service to our community. To contact Liz directly, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.