Candidates square off for secretary of state debate

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The two candidates for vying for the Louisiana secretary of state squared off Monday.

Tom Schedler has been secretary of state almost a year. He said his office, like others within state government, has had to deal with cutbacks.

"Once I took office in January, one of the first things I did was try to address too many elections," Schedler said. "Louisiana had more elections than any other southeast state, by double."

He said he has streamlined the election process and is responsible for the new online apps to help people understand the races better. He hopes that understanding also helped generate interest.

Speaker of the House Jim Tucker wants the job and said his presence made many of those changes happen.

"The bill that passed this year was dead without the work we did in the House of Representatives," Tucker said. "I saved that bill and I thought it was a good bill and we were able to move it forward to be able to reduce the number of elections."

Tucker explained Louisiana has made great strides under Gov. Bobby Jindal and is poised for more. Schedler also has high hopes, but was quick to point out his office has asked for funding.

He's partially handcuffed by a thin budget, which is a reality he claimed Tucker doesn't seem to acknowledge.

"He was critical of my 70 administrative individuals that would make you believe that those 70 people were in my executive suite eating tea and crumpets all day," Schedler stated.

"That's the difference between a "can do" attitude and a "can't do" attitude and I'm going to bring a "can do" attitude to the secretary of state's office on looking at what can be done with the resources in that office, be it for voter registration or voter participation," Tucker said.