Florian Bercault, mayor of Laval elected in the midst of a health crisis

    Florian Bercault, mayor of Laval elected in the midst of a health crisis

    – On June 29, 2020, we are the day after the second round of municipal elections. What did you think about when stepping into what is your office for the next six years?

    The first thing I said to myself is … wow! There are responsibilities that await me and Laval residents will not have to be disappointed.

    – Pride?

    I don’t think we realize it because we immediately enter a decorum. The office reminds you that you are a public figure, and that you have a mission. In any case, I did not see any difference between before June 29 and today. I have the impression of being the same man, of carrying out a function. And I hope we will fulfill our commitments.

    – We were entering the fifth month of the health crisis at that time. And you got into a big wringer …

    Immediately we had to take hold. And finally the first people with whom I had contact are ultimately less Laval residents than the Prefect of Mayenne, the Regional Health Agency, the Laval hospital. And then there was the governance to be put in place. It was to meet immediately the mayors of the agglomeration and its two-thirds of new elected officials. We had to get to know each other quickly, quickly divide up the work. And then obviously the governance of the municipal council with its 12 deputies.

    – You took over from François Zocchetto’s municipal team who had put in place certain measures during the Covid-19 crisis. Have you had the temptation to review all of this to make your mark or to be in the continuity?

    When we arrive at functions we serve the interests of all Laval residents. I am not the mayor of a camp. So of course there is a Republican continuity. We are not going to stop the work around the conservatory, the cultural center which is under construction. It would be foolish. On the other hand, we will actually give our coloring as we go. It is not night and day, and fortunately for Laval residents. We must bring this political renewal that was expected. I believe that in the response to the health crisis we have shown a new way of doing things. During the first confinement, we wondered a lot about “if we were in charge how would we have done?“. This has enabled us to provide innovative responses. Screening buses in neighborhoods for example, marauding with street mediators and elected officials as well, the covid information point to reassure residents.

    – During the campaign you often said “I want to improve the daily life of the inhabitants“. Does this sentence, and even this maxim almost, take even more meaning at the time of this health crisis during which the daily life of people is upset?

    Absolutely, moreover I am a daily mayor, in the field and attentive. We have a project to carry out: to improve life, day by day, for everyone. But to do more also for those who have the most difficulties. It is very important to keep this consistency in a city of which we should be proud.

    – You are the youngest mayor of a city of more than 30,000 inhabitants. Does that mean that the French are able to elect a young person to this function? What does this mean of our company in France?

    In my team, many had not held an elective civic function before, so it was a real gamble. And it is undoubtedly the need to have a new way of doing politics and providing solutions. As a young mayor, I wanted to meet all the classes from CP to CM2 to meet Laval schoolchildren. This is to exchange with them, to say what a mayor is for. If we want to preserve the climate, improve social justice, and undo inequalities, it is for the next generations. It is in this long time that I register. When I went to meet them, I realized that there were still a lot of taboos around politics. The questions that came up were: “are you rich? Do you have a Limousine?“You see … things that seem out of date to me. And yet this is the next generation.

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