BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - ?
Four of the major candidates in the race to be the next Governor of Louisiana met for the first time on one stage, essentially kicking off the election season.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Louisiana and its partners hosted the candidates at their critical issues summit.
There were no real surprises from any of the candidates which included 3 republicans: Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne and U.S. Senator David Vitter- the lone democrat, state representative John Bel Edwards also joined the forum.
The answers to many of the questions- which were given to the men ahead of time-centered mainly around infrastructure and transportation in Louisiana directed at a crowd made up of mostly engineers and contractors.
Jay Dardenne said Louisiana could improve things immediately by using tax dollars meant for roads on roads.
"We can no longer perhaps be as generous as we've been in the past and taking care of needs for non-profits and needs for local government," Dardenne said.
"We all know that they are important and we all recognize it but the truth of a state budget is that it's got to be for the priorities of the state."
Senator David Vitter and Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle agreed the public has lost trust in how their money is spent, especially dollars that are supposed to be dedicated to certain funds.
"We need to re instill confidence and certainty in the Transportation Trust Fund so that's it's actually going to what people think they're paying for,"
"That also includes on the revenue side, things like the vehicle sales tax actually getting there."
Scott Angelle wants to give local governments more control.
"We put so many shackles on our local government in a method that says - come to Baton Rouge and beg for a crumb and if you get one and you vote the right way, and we talk about capital outlay and use that as a bargaining chip, then you get a few things back home," Angelle said.
John Bel Edwards the only democrat and current member of the legislature said roads and the public trust are one thing- but it goes much further.
"I just don't want anybody in here thinking that the Transportation Trust Fund is the only fund out there that's been raided over the last several years," Edwards said.
"Just go ask somebody that depended upon the Office of Group Benefits fund balance to keep their premiums low and their out of pocket cost low."
The election for Governor is October 24, 2015