Gubernatorial candidates participate in political forum

Gubernatorial candidates participate in political forum

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle echoes the words of his competition.

"Louisiana needs to elect a racehorse and not a show horse," said Angelle, (R) gubernatorial candidate.

"More than ever right now, Louisiana needs a governor who is focused solely on Louisiana, who is not interested in anything outside of our state," said Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, (R) gubernatorial candidate.

The four candidates, three in person and Sen. David Vitter via a pre-recorded video, opened the forum Thursday critical of Gov. Bobby Jindal.

"It's time that the people have what they deserve and that's a governor who wakes up everyday worrying about the people of Louisiana. And it's a good idea to wake up in the state of Louisiana as well," said Rep. John Bel Edwards, (D) gubernatorial candidate.

When taking questions, all four agree, saying it's time to stop cutting higher education. With a $1.6 billion state deficit, higher ed is on the chopping block again this legislative session.

"We face enormous challenges in Louisiana. But I'm absolutely convinced if we meet them head on with strong leadership, with real solutions, we can reap tremendous opportunities," said Sen. David Vitter, (R) gubernatorial candidate.

Meantime at the Capitol Thursday afternoon, Gov. Jindal spoke to media on week two of session and shot back against the men who want to replace him.

When 9News asked the governor for his response to the candidates criticizing him for his time spent out of state, Gov. Jindal answered, "Let them make their case to the people of Louisiana. They've got the chance to do that. There will be many chances for them to both praise and criticize us this election season."

Addressing the state's fiscal problems, all of the candidates say they would reform the state's tax code.

"It's time for an extreme makeover," said Angelle.

Individually, Sen. Vitter says he would put greater protection on the Transportation Trust Fund.

Rep. Edwards says by the end of his first term, higher ed would be funded 50-50, half from the state, the other half from tuition.

Dardenne supports raising the cigarette tax.

Angelle promises more transparency, saying he would make his schedule public every day.

When asked what they like about Gov. Jindal's tenure, the candidates credited the governor's job creation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says more people are working in Louisiana now than ever before.

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