CAMERON PARISH, LA (KPLC) - On Saturday, voters in Cameron Parish and part of Vermillion Parish will elect a new state representative for Louisiana House District 47.
The winner will serve out the remaining term for former state Rep. Jonathan Perry, who left the position after winning a state senate seat in February.
The candidates vying for the seat in the special election are former Kaplan mayor Linda Hardee and current Gueydan mayor Bob Hensgens.
Linda Hardee served four years as mayor of Kaplan. A resident of south Louisiana for forty years, Hardee has also been a school teacher, guidance counselor and helped her husband run their small business.
"I'm a people person. I like to be a doer. I'm a person of action," she explains. "My record that I am running on is a record of service and integrity to the people."
Bob Hensgens is the current mayor of Gueydan. He grew up in Cameron Parish and later moved to Gueydan. He now runs a small health care management business.
"I have two young grandchildren that I want to grow up in Louisiana," said Hensgens. "I don't think we have the right to saddle our young children with debt."
On government spending
Both candidates describe themselves as politically conservative and both are registered Republicans.
"Baton Rouge needs to live within its means. It's not like they don't take enough of our money. They take plenty," said Hensgens, who received an endorsement from the Louisiana Tea Party.
"My political philosophy comes from Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. I think very conservative. Government should be as small as possible, as efficient as possible," he added.
Hardee says her experience as a mayor, in which she says she retired $1.2 million in debt, taught her fiscal responsibility.
"One thing I learned in being a mayor, you need to learn where you need to make cuts and you need to use money wisely and frugally and don't throw it away," said Hardee.
On coastal restoration
Both candidates said it's important for the next state representative from District 47 to lead on coastal restoration, which impacts both Cameron and Vermillion parishes.
"We've spent too much time on studies and not enough time on action," explained Hardee. "I would like to see us move forward on that as soon as possible because we don't know what tomorrow's going to bring with another storm."
Hensgens said the issue hits home for him because he comes from a family of rice farmers.
"We have saltwater intrusion in [Vermillion Parish] like we do in Cameron," he said. "It's very hard for them to make a living when they can't pump fresh water."
On social issues
Both candidates also say they are conservative on social issues.
A campaign flyer for Hensgens says he is "100% pro-life and committed to protecting the unborn."
It also says Hensgens is pro-gun and a hunter.
Campaign literature for Hardee also describes her as pro-life, pro-family and pro-gun.
Both candidates tell 7 News the campaign has proven to be more expensive than expected.
However, they say the campaign has been friendly. In fact, both candidates called the other a "friend" and pledged to remain that way regardless of what happens on Saturday.