IN THEIR WORDS: Candidates for US Representative - 3rd Congressional District

IN THEIR WORDS: Candidates for US Representative - 3rd Congressional District
(Manning, Johnathan)

With the Nov. 6 election looming, we asked the candidates for U.S. Representative - Third Congressional District to tell us why they are running and what makes them the best candidate. Rob Anderson (D), Aaron J. Andrus (LBT), Josh Guillory (R), incumbent Clay Higgins (R), Mimi Methvin (D), Larry Rader (D) and Verone Thomas (D) are on the ballot. Early voting is from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Oct. 23-30 (except Sunday, Oct. 28). For what’s on your ballot, where to vote and more election news, visit kplctv.com/politics/elections

Tell us a little about yourself (education, career, previous elected positions, family, etc.)

· ROB ANDERSON: I am a first-time politician. Prior to my entry into this Congressional race, I was primarily a blue-collar trade worker: home construction, commercial concrete, and most recently, a driller. My wife and I have been married for 28 years, and have raised two children, who both went on to become engineers.

· AARON ANDRUS: I was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. I graduated from Bell City High School in 1991. I attended McNeese State University where I received a B.S. in Finance in 1996. I earned a Master’s in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University – New Orleans in 2006 and am currently enrolled in the MBA program at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I worked in the banking and insurance industry prior to my current position as an Operations Manager for Seabulk Towing. I have been with Seabulk for twelve years. Me and my wife, Jill, have been married for 23 years and we have four children – Abigail (19), Zane (17), Sophie (13) and Grey (11). I currently serve as the Vice Chair/Treasurer for the Libertarian Party of Calcasieu Parish and am also the Treasurer for the Propeller Club – Ports of SWLA. In my spare time, I enjoy reading books on theology and politics.

· JOSH GUILLORY: I was raised in Alexandria. My dad was a swamp pop musician. His name is Clint Guillory, but he was more commonly known as “Clint West.” Following my dad around in the music industry had a big impact in my life, and his influence as it relates to working with diverse personalities has helped me in every aspect of my life. My maternal grandparents also had a huge impression on me. I consider being jointly raised by them during the first six years of my life. My grandfather was a farmer, and I remember watching him get out into the fields before sunrise and returning after sunset six days a week in a small country town known as Echo, LA. His work ethic and dedication to getting crops to the market will always resonate with me. After graduating from Alexandria Senior High, I moved to Lafayette to attend UL Lafayette. I graduated from ULL in 2004 with a marketing degree in the College of Business Administration. On June 19, 2001, I enlisted in the LA Army National Guard. During my military service, I attended and completed several schools. These schools include Basic Combat training, Advanced Individual Training as a radio operator, United States Airborne School, and Armor Officer Basic Course. In addition, I became a commissioned officer after completing Officer Candidate School. I served in Baghdad, Iraq in 2005 as a Cavalry platoon leader in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Serving our country has been the single greatest honor of my life. Upon returning from active duty, I continued to serve in the LA Army National Guard for several years and also worked in the private sector. I later attended law school at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge. While attending law school, I worked full time, went to school full time, and my wife and I had our youngest child (who was born premature) in the middle of my second year of law school. I graduated from law school in 2011, and I opened my law firm in October of that year. In addition to being an attorney, I am a small business owner. Serving in this capacity has allowed me to have a deep appreciation of what business owners within our district go through on a daily basis, and I will never forget this as our Congressman. I live in Youngsville with my wife, Jamie, and our children. I am passionate about our culture in South Louisiana, and I believe in the importance of giving back to our community. I am thankful to have served as a voluntary youth football coach for several years.

· CLAY HIGGINS: Captain Clay Higgins is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing South Louisiana. Raised on a horse ranch, Congressman Higgins’ South Louisiana roots run deep. After graduating from high school, he attended LSU where he studied political science and history. He then went on to serve in the United States Army/Louisiana National Guard as a Military Police Officer, and he attained the rank of E-6, Staff Sergeant. Higgins had many successful years in business, but returned to uniform service as a street cop in 2004. He worked patrol, primarily night shift, and he was a well-known SWAT operator. Prior to joining Congress in 2017, Higgins is best known for his Crimestopper videos for the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office. The program was one of the most successful in the history of law enforcement. Most of the featured crimes were solved and what was most significant was that many of the suspects responded to “Uncle Clay’s” message of redemption and turned themselves in. Captain Higgins continues to actively serve the Thin Blue Line retaining his POST State Certification as a Deputy Marshal in Lafayette, LA. As a veteran and highly decorated law enforcement officer, Congressman Higgins continues to protect and serve in the nation’s capital. He is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and the House Committee on Homeland Security. A committed Constitutionalist, Congressman Higgins believes in restoring the federal government envisioned by our Founding Fathers. Higgins believes in smaller government, less bureaucracy, free markets, a strong national defense and securing America’s sovereign borders. Congressman Higgins has sworn a sacred oath to protect and serve the people of South Louisiana.

· MIMI METHVIN: I was born and raised in Alexandria, the second of five siblings. Like a lot of second borns, I have always had a strong sense of right and wrong and a strong competitive streak. I graduated from Tulane with a degree in philosophy. I earned my law degree from Georgetown University while working full-time for Congressman Gillis Long of what was then Louisiana’s Eighth Congressional District. I practiced law with my dad for a couple of years in Alexandria, then became an assistant U.S. Attorney in Shreveport. I also worked for the U.S. Department of the Interior for a couple of years before being appointed as a federal magistrate judge in Lafayette in the Western District of Louisiana. I held that position for 26 years before I retired in order to help pay for the college education of my two sons. Since retiring from the bench, I’ve worked as a professional mediator, a temporary state court judge appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court, and a practicing attorney.

· LARRY RADER: Larry Rader was born in the rural community of Jeanerette, La. In 1971 he graduated from Jeanerette High School and joined the United States Air Force. Upon successful completion of his military career he attended The University Of Maryland, Ohio State and The University Of Southwestern Louisiana. During his college days he worked as a proctor at Lafayette Juvenile Adult Program working with kids that were adjudicated through the judicial system. Larry Rader later became Employed by Shell Oil Company in the Offshore Division for 10 years. Today, I am self employed in the insurance and financial industry. In addition, I am past President for the Port Of Iberia and Past Chairman for Iberia Parish Mosquito Abatement District. I am a avid hunter and fisherman and look forward to serving the citizens of Louisiana 3rd Congressional District.

· VERONE THOMAS: I’m the son of Charles & Ellaweena Woods. Co-owner of W&W Construction and Ellaweena’s Thrift Store. Graduated from Lake Charles Boston High School in 1985. Joined the US Navy. Specialized in Radar, Communications, Navigation and Tactical Data Systems. Was Rookie and Navy Recruiter of the Year for Z9 Los Angeles, CA. Got out the Navy in 1995. Utilizing my communications training, I worked in the corporate offices of Qualcomm, Nokia, MP3 until hired by Tony Gwynn from the San Diego Padres to be the Electronic Engineer for his record label. I’m a member of the Kiwanis Club of Lake Charles. Black Heritage Foundation and was a member of the Community Advisory Panel for AXXIAL.

Why did you choose to enter the race for the 3rd Congressional District?

· ROB ANDERSON: I felt that it was time for a common man, an average working-class family man, to try to bring sanity back to the money-riddled political process.

· AARON ANDRUS: I decided to run for Congress because I’m tired. I’m tired of how things never change no matter who we vote in. I’m tired of the government wasting my money on things that are against my values. I’m tired of deficits. I’m tired of the expansion of the state and the erosion of civil liberties. I’m tired of big corporations getting bail outs and the average tax payer having to picking up the tab. We elect people who promise to fight the system, but they don’t. Due to party pressure they get to Washington and become part of the club - the party apparatus. Unlike them, I’ll vote for smaller government. I’ll vote for the Constitution and maintaining our civil liberties. I’ll vote for a balanced budget and to eliminate the deficit. I’ll refuse corporate and special interest money. I’ll vote for these things because I believe individuals know best how to run their own life. I’ll vote for Liberty.

· JOSH GUILLORY: Our district deserves to have what we once had: a true and effective voice in Washington. We deserve to be represented by someone who actually lives in our district and who will go and fight for the needs of our community. I also look at Washington and am tired of the wasteful spending and the unsustainable growth and overreach of the federal government. It’s not what you say that counts. It’s what you do, and I know that I will be a strong and consistently conservative voice for our district. There are also several key votes that Congressman Higgins voted on that I respectfully disagree with that compelled me to run. I disagree with our congressman voting to increase our national debt three times. I disagree with Congressman Higgins voting to increase flood insurance premiums, especially on a district that was hit so hard with the floods of Fall 2016. I also disagree with our congressman missing several key roll call votes, to include a disaster relief vote following Hurricane Harvey. And, as stated above, I wholeheartedly disagree with Congressman Higgins living outside of our district.

· CLAY HIGGINS: I serve We the People and, by extension, all of America. My congressional service is a journey that manifested in my life. It is something that my wife and I have embraced. It’s both the most demanding and challenging service to my fellow man that I have ever performed. It’s also the most rewarding and uplifting. My dedication is to stay on the brightly illuminated path that the Lord has manifested in my life. That path is to continue serving my country and the citizens of South Louisiana at the congressional level.

· MIMI METHVIN: I decided to enter the race when I saw how our democratic institutions — the things that actually made America great — have come under attack during the past two years. I grew tired of waiting for someone else to stand up for the rule of law, the right to vote, and an independent press. I decided I needed to do that myself. Having worked for a congressman who made the needs of his constituents and his state his top priorities, I know that Congress can be an effective branch of government when the people elected to serve there decide to make it so. I also believe that big money has corrupted our politics and government. The money and influence of corporations and the wealthy have combined to drown out the voices of ordinary people in our governmental processes. I believe I have the vision, experience and political to change that when I get to Washington.

· LARRY RADER: America has allowed itself to destroy its own democracy. The poor keeps getting poorer and the rich keeps getting richer. This trend must stop and greed must not be acceptable. All of us deserve to live the American Dream. Although jobs are prevalent most barely pay enough to live a decent life style. The middle class is slowly fading away and soon will no longer exist. I will fight to assure your Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and Veteran Benefits are protected. It’s time we bring common sense back to Washington D. C.

· VERONE THOMAS: Our state is in a code red situation due to climate change and Coastal erosion. I’m not afraid to take on the oil and gas industry and cut the problem off at its source. It’s time to leave fossil fuels in the past and incorporate renewable fuel energies into our economy.

What do you think makes you the best candidate for this position?

· ROB ANDERSON: I am bright and decisive and honest, and I have an innate empathy with the working class of America, having spent my entire life working to make my world - and that of my neighbors - a better place.

⋅ AARON ANDRUS: I am honest, dedicated and principled. I know what I believe in and I support those ideals regardless of who is in control of the White House or Congress. As a Libertarian, I would have no obligation to support party politics as my opponents who are members of the two party system do. I will always vote on principles, not party politics.

· JOSH GUILLORY: My background as a business owner, an officer who has led a platoon in combat, a husband, a father, a football coach, and an attorney has allowed me to gain attributes that will help me best represent my neighbors in the Third Congressional District. I do not claim to know everything, but I know that no other candidate in this election will fight harder for our district than I will.

· CLAY HIGGINS: I can’t say that one American citizen is more significant than any other. I have humbly embraced this path to serve my country at this level. The people will determine if I’m worthy of this service, not I. My office has worked tirelessly to provide South Louisiana families with exceptional constituent services and an active legislative effort. We have built a reputation as a highly-regarded and highly-productive congressional office. We have delivered major wins for South Louisiana, helped over 2,000 constituents cut through bureaucratic red tape, and passed a dozen meaningful pieces of legislation. My office ranks second in legislative productivity amongst all first-term members of Congress.

· MIMI METHVIN: I have worked in all three branches of the federal government, dating back to working for Congressman Long while I went to law school. I believe it is important that the people elected to serve in Congress believe that government policy is important and that government itself must work. My education, my legal training, my work and life experience, I believe, make me the best qualified candidate for this seat. My work as a mediator requires me to listen to both sides and to seek ways to identify common ground. These are precisely the skills that are too often absent in Congress today. I look forward to the opportunity to help restore bipartisanship to the House. I’m not taking PAC money, so I will be free to vote in the interests of my constituents rather than be beholden to the interests of big dollar donors.

· LARRY RADER: I am the only candidate that has worked within the political spectrum with both republicans and democrats. As a business person I know how to work with people. Currently, we need the right person who have the right ideas to propel the community forward with good paying jobs and economic development.

· VERONE THOMAS: My unique vision of the future for Louisiana sets me apart from the other candidates. Utilizing the best that technology has to offer for education, transportation and infrastructure, I see Louisiana being the most economical successful state in the country. We can be the blueprint for what a successful futuristic state looks like.

What do you believe is the biggest priority in the 3rd Congressional District?

· ROB ANDERSON: Adequate representation of the people by the people, instead of corporate interests. The average family worries about paying their bills, remaining healthy and trying to thrive in a country that favors industry over the people.

· AARON ANDRUS: The biggest priority for not only the 3rd Congressional District, but for our country as well, is the budget deficit and unsustainable debt. This is the issue of our times and no one is doing anything to address it except playing lip service to the idea of a balanced budget and decreased spending. Republicans have now had two opportunities through their budgets to change the status quo and have failed to deliver. Democrats don’t even talk about it. The more the government grows, either through taxation or borrowing, the more it encroaches on our freedoms and puts the entire country at financial risk. We have to cut spending Tax cuts and deregulation are just two parts of a financially sound fiscal policy.

· JOSH GUILLORY: Infrastructure and jobs are the most important priorities that are facing our district here at home. As our next Congressman, I will fight to balance the federal budget, secure funding for key infrastructure projects within our district such as replacing the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles and connecting I-49 South in the Lafayette area, protect our coast, and lessen or eliminate any redundant or needless regulations that strangles the growth of business as opposed to allowing our business sector to flourish.

· CLAY HIGGINS: Continued, steady growth of economic development and expansion across South Louisiana. This is the most significant cornerstone of all our hopes for the future. Infrastructure development depends on economic growth, coastal restoration depends upon economic development, tax revenue at the local, state, and federal level depends on economic development and growth. Louisiana’s future depends upon fully participating in a healthy, reignited economy, as we have created it at the federal level. We must address challenges at the state level that restrict economic growth. The oil and gas industry is a cornerstone of South Louisiana’s economy. The oil and gas industry is booming in states like Texas because of what we’ve done at the federal level, and yet growth has been less dynamic in Louisiana. This is because of a tax burden that exists here in Louisiana, a 12.5% severance tax here in Louisiana compared to a 4.6% severance tax in Texas, and a toxic legal environment. There is a climate of litigation against the oil and gas industry that is openly condoned and even encouraged out of Louisiana’s executive branch. I answer this question both as a congressional representative, as an American, and as a Louisiana citizen. We will continue to deliver wins for South Louisiana and push pro-growth economic policies at the federal level that create a climate for economic growth and development across the country. As a Louisiana citizen, I recognize that we have particular challenges in our state that are restricting the opportunities unique to our state. That’s something that we must honestly address as citizens of Louisiana.

· MIMI METHVIN: I believe providing healthcare peace of mind to every citizen in our district is our top priority. We are the richest nation in the history of the world. Surely, we can provide access to healthcare across this district if we want to do so. I’ve worked for the federal government for more than 30 years and never once had to worry about the financial impact a disease or an injury would have on me and my family. I think every one of us should be able to enjoy that same sense of comfort that I did. It should not be limited only to the wealthy or to members of Congress.

· LARRY RADER: JOBS, JOBS, JOBS.

· VERONE THOMAS: Coastal erosion, Affordable Healthcare, Education and Mass Transportation is our biggest challenges in Louisiana right now.

What would be your primary goals should you be elected? What specific change(s) would you like to see?

· ROB ANDERSON: I would focus on infratsructure for the district and the state - and by “infrastructure,” I mean we have a specific plan to improve the lives of everyone. A novel piece of legislation I call the "G.R.O.W. Act' (Gulf Region Omnibus Works Act) would stimulate spending all along the Gulf Region - the center of 60% of the shipping in the U.S., and 25% of our petroleum - encouraging the modernization of roads, water and electric and Internet utilities, healthcare, bridges and even public WiFi, to encourage new industrial growth and quality of life for the residents, without new taxes.

· AARON ANDRUS: My primary goal is to vote against wasteful and unconstitutional spending. I would not vote for ANY corporate subsidies, welfare or bailouts. I would advocate for Congress to take back the power it has relinquished to the Executive Branch – specifically on trade and tariffs as well as the use of military force. I also would work for criminal justice reform - primarily by declassifying marijuana as an illegal substance at the federal level. I am a proponent of auditing the Federal Reserve. Lower taxes and deregulation will also be primary goals.

· JOSH GUILLORY: On the federal level, we must balance the budget. The answer lies primarily with a serious reduction to our federal agencies. I will be a fierce advocate in eliminating the size, budgetary allocation, scope, personnel, and number of our federal agencies. Simply put – we must do more with less. Here at home, I will place a strong emphasis on our infrastructure needs and bringing back jobs to our district. Regarding infrastructure, I will employ a two-fold process. First, I will partner with local leaders to identify both the needs of our district and the obstacles that are preventing us from addressing our infrastructure needs. Second, I will work tirelessly to secure the necessary funding and resources to achieve our infrastructure goals within our district. Several infrastructure needs are prevalent at the moment, to include replacing the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles, connecting I-49 South in Lafayette, and drainage. I will also use this two-step approach in bringing jobs back to the Third Congressional District. Again, it takes a partnership with the community and our local leaders, and I will have this model in place on day one.

· CLAY HIGGINS: My second term will coincide with President Trump’s third and fourth year in office. We’re going to continue delivering wins for all of America. That includes continued expansion of the American economy, continuing our regulatory reform efforts, protecting life and the unborn, securing our borders and restoring sovereignty, rebuilding our military, reducing the size and scope of the federal government, restoring fiscal order in the people’s government, fighting for a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution. We will continue to help President Trump and a Republican majority enact conservative policies that benefit all Americans and, therefore, the world because what’s good for America is good for the world. Quite frankly, I don’t think of it as a second term. It’s a continuance of our mission, and our mission is clear – to restore America as the leader of the free world and the economic engine that drives success across the globe. We are fighting for the future that we should have, that our children, our grandchildren, and unborn generations of Americans should enjoy – a stable and strong America.

· MIMI METHVIN: I believe Louisiana’s coastal challenges offer an opportunity to break the partisan gridlock we’ve seen in Washington in recent years. We are not the only state facing the challenges of rising sea level, sinking land and more intense storms. These challenges are bigger than any one community, district or state. For that reason, I will sponsor legislation to make the federal government a full financial partner in Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan and will work with members of Congress from other states and other parties to put a national response to climate change on the House agenda. I believe that these kinds of bi-partisan, multi-coastal responses to national and global challenges remind us all of how government can respond to needs when the people we elect act in good faith on behalf of the interests of all constituents.

· LARRY RADER: I will work hard to assure we all have the opportunity to live the American Dream. Indeed, I am the “Candidate For All.” My ultimate goal is to diversify our economy with jobs that will protect our environment and propel Louisiana into the future!!!.

· VERONE THOMAS: I would like to get rid of our outdated railroad system and build the HYPERLOOP (750 mph) in its place. We can put a port in Lake Charles, Lafayette, Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Mach speed ground level travel is needed to move (PMP) People, Material and Product more efficiently and increase our revenue income by the Billions.

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