Meet the candidates for state representative District 34

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:35 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - District 34 residents are on the cusp of making an important decision.

With early voting beginning soon, three state representative candidates are finishing out their campaigns strong.

Three Democrats – Kevin Guidry, Franklin Lewis and incumbent Rep. Wilford Carter Sr. – are all competing for the state representative seat in District 34, which covers the eastern portion of Lake Charles.

Guidry is a longtime resident of Lake Charles and has been in politics for over 18 years.

Lewis is new to the political game but said what he lacks there he makes up for in other areas. He worked as a police officer in Lake Charles for 35 years.

Carter has held the title of state representative since 2020 and has worked in the Louisiana legislature since 1984. He told us during his term he was responsible for over 250 bills.

We caught up with all three candidates ahead of early voting to ask a few questions.

Why do you want this position?

Guidry: “The reason why I’m running for office is that I feel that District 34 has been neglected to some extent, and I want to see things done a little differently in our district because we deserve better.”

Lewis: “I see the differences between South Lake Charles and North Lake Charles, and it’s time for us to get North Lake Charles and bring it up to catch up with where South Lake Charles is now.”

Carter: “I just want to be fair. I want everybody to be represented in this beautiful state of ours to have input. Everybody! Equally!”

What is your biggest priority if you win the election?

Guidry: “Sometimes people don’t want to be in apartments, they want to be in houses they can call their own. And that’s one of the things I want to focus on when I go to Baton Rouge – find means, find money, and find ways to get people back home again.”

Lewis: “I plan on doing everything that I can to bring businesses back to our area. Bring restaurants, drug stores, grocery stores, small businesses. I want to work on all these things for you, our people.”

Carter: “My big thing has been increasing the minimum wage. I have a bill just about every year, but it can’t get out of committee. So minimum wage should not be $7.25, $7.50 an hour, it ought to be a minimum of $15.50. It may not get there in one year, but in two or three years we ought to be to a $15 an hour minimum wage.”

What other issues do you want to address?

Guidry: “I want to have a multi-agency center right here in North Lake Charles to where they can go to, that will house FEMA, that will house goods that we need whether that be clothes, food, all sorts of different things. We don’t have that here.”

Lewis: “I feel like right now our state highways here in Lake Charles are in dire need of repairs. We need to come out and fix up these roadways to make Lake Charles more attractive for when visitors are coming into our city.”

Carter: “Find out why you got there, why you got to jail. Did you have some problem in your childhood, did somebody abuse you, do you have an active drug problem, do you have a problem with not having training, education, a decent job? Let’s find out what your problem is then we’re gonna work and spend the time in here trying to solve the problem.”

What sets you apart from your opponents?

Guidry: “I think the thing that probably separates me from other candidates is that I have a passion for what I do, and it’s been my way of life ever since I was a small kid because when I focus on something, I pretty much put the blinders on and I go at it.”

Lewis: “What sets me apart from the rest of the candidates that’s in this race is I’ve actually worked the streets of Lake Charles. I’ve been in your communities. I’ve seen the decline. I’ve seen the businesses leave our area.”

Carter said what sets him apart is what he has already accomplished as the current state representative.

Carter: “$3.5 million in the overpass. And, we got a million dollars for the SWLA Health Center on Opelousas Street needed some money. We worked with the delegation and did $200 million for planning, engineering work and relocation work for the bridge we’ve got coming up.”

The last day to register online to vote in the Oct. 14 primary gubernatorial election is Saturday, Sept. 23. Early voting will be Sept. 30 through Oct. 7. For more information about the election, CLICK HERE.