PAR hosts forum for Gubernatorial candidates

Voters got a chance to hear from the candidates running for governor, as PAR Louisiana hosted a public forum on Wednesday, April 26.
Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 7:43 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Voters got a chance to hear from the candidates running for governor, as PAR Louisiana hosted a public forum on Wednesday, April 26.

As the only Democratic candidate on the ticket and a former cabinet member for John Bel Edwards, former Transportation Secretary, Dr. Shawn Wilson, shared what he believes separates him from the governor and why he would not be a John Bel Edwards 2.0.

“There’s very little policy space between Gov. Edwards and I,” said Dr. Wilson. “I think I am probably a lot more aggressive in some areas than he might be.”

We finally got to hear from the newest candidate in the race, Republican Stephen Waguespack. He said he got into the race primarily because of his 20-year-old son, who he said has significantly more opportunity in Texas where he goes to college than here. He wants to boost education savings accounts to help transform high schools into launchpads for the jobs of today.

“And I’m talking to him, and now, I’m starting to wonder whether he ever comes home,” said Waguespack. “And so, that became a very real sobering moment for me that made me realize the crisis we’re in.”

As Treasurer of the state for the last six years, Republican John Schroder said he would take the approach of a CEO and run the state like a business, saying his highest priority would be crime and education.

“Look, I’m born and raised outside of New Orleans; it’s bad,” said Schroder. “It’ll get a lot of my attention, that and education.”

As the youngest in the crowd, state Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, wants to get Louisiana on track with neighboring states that are taking most of today’s jobs by changing the state’s tax code. He said getting rid of the outdated system of Huey Long would free us from being held back. Nelson also spoke about his position on legalizing marijuana.

“You know the argument; I’m a Republican, that’s true, but I believe in free markets, limited government, and individual liberty, and I think that’s consistent with those principles,” explained Rep. Nelson.

Senate Majority Leader Sharon Hewitt, R-Chalmette, touted her ability to pass over 120 bills in her time at the Louisiana State Capitol, saying it proves she can work with anyone and emphasizing she’s not a politician but a problem solver.

“I thought Louisiana had an infinite amount of problems to be solved and so I did, I ran for office, the state Senate, and I’ve been serving there for two terms,” said Sen. Hewitt.

Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry pointed out how Southern states are booming with people and businesses from other states coming in except for Louisiana. Landry said putting more money into local governments and out of the State Capitol would solve a lot of problems.

“Because that’s quite frankly what our problem here in Louisiana is,” said Landry. “All the money comes into that Capitol over there and all the local governments gotta run around with a little tin can and figure out how much money can I have.”

Lastly, as the only Independent in the race, Hunter Lundy doesn’t want Louisiana to look to other states for what to do, but instead, wants to lead. Lundy, too, said crime would be at the top of his priority list.

“Tens of thousands of people short in law enforcement; let’s get them back on the streets, let’s get rid of crime, let’s not tolerate the foolishness that we’ve tolerated,” said Lundy. “And as the governor, I’m gonna be the governor for the whole state.”

Pretty soon, we’ll get to see these candidates side-by-side for some debates, but we’ll have to wait until qualifying is over before we do.

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