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Three vying for State Senate District 27 seat formerly occupied by Ronnie Johns

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 7:59 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - It’s a three-man race for Louisiana Senate District 27. That’s the seat vacated by Ronnie Johns when he accepted the governor’s appointment to chair the Louisiana Gaming Control Board.

In the post-disaster election of Nov. 13, there is no shortage of issues for state senate candidates to tackle.

Forty-one-year-old Dustin Granger is the only Democrat in the race. He says he’s running because of the disasters.

“My top priority is insurance reform. And I think that I’m the best man for the job, because I haven’t taken any money from these insurance companies that are hurting our families,” Granger said. “And we need somebody in there that can fight for it.”

Granger says being a certified financial planner helps to make him the most qualified.

“I’ve been doing that in the community for 17 years,” Granger said. “So, I help people imagine and plan for a future and help that future come into fruition, which is something we could use more of in Baton Rouge.”

Granger is married to his wife Lauren, and they have two daughters, Mireille, 6 and Ines, 3.

Second on the ballot is 31-year-old Jake Shaheen who is a Republican and a school teacher.

“This is actually the first year that I’m doing robotics and coding, and we don’t have robots yet, so it’s just coding right now. But I also do math intervention. What I was doing before was middle school math, that’s what I did the last two years,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen says he has strong leadership skills, and he says his priority is to change the complexion of the legislature with campaign finance reform.

“Most of our politicians serve the interests of corporations, because we allow corporations to give large campaign donations to our politicians,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen is married to his wife Sandra, and they have two children, Tuesday, 11 and J.R., 7.

Third on the ballot is 41-year-old Jeremy Stine, a Republican who has served as a legislative aid and has a well-known family and family business.

“You can have the best strategy or the best business plan, at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean squat if you don’t have the right culture in place,” Stine said. “And for 75 years, we’ve had a faith-based culture at Stine that has truly allowed us to serve with humility, to be a humble servant for - not just our customers but our community.”

Stine says the breadth of his experience best qualifies him.

“Feeding those tens of thousands of people in our parking lot, fighting for supplemental disaster relief funding as president of the Alliance for Positive Growth, fighting for a better drainage lateral system, and cleaning up the debris when we did our drone aerial survey as president of the Alliance for Positive Growth,” Stine said.

Stine is married to his wife Emily, and they have three children, Woods, 8; James, 6; and Charlotte, 4.

All three candidates say they have immediate concerns to address.

“It looks like insurance companies spend more money fighting claims than they do paying claims - which is crazy to me. And there must be something in the incentive structure, and we need to fix that,” Granger said.

“We know about the struggles of working-class people every day and what they have go through and how hard they have to strive just to make it day-to-day,” Shaheen said.

“So, top priority is housing. Absolutely have to do more for housing. We’re going to continue to fight for supplemental disaster relief funding, fight for hurricane recovery, insurance reform...,” Stine said.

Election day is Saturday, Nov. 13, and all candidates are encouraging people to vote.

If no single candidate gets more than half the vote, there will be a runoff Dec. 11.

According to the Calcasieu Registrar of Voters, there are 74,509 eligible voters in the race for Senate District 27.

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