(WAFB) - Three Republicans are hoping to become the next Louisiana State Representative in District 59. The area covers a big portion of Ascension, Assumption, and St. James parishes. The winner will replace Eddie Lambert, who is term limited.
After spending 37 years climbing the ranks of the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, Tony Bacala, retired and turned his focus to the Louisiana State Capitol.
"I've been in public service all my life, Bacala said.
The former Chief Deputy helped manage a force of more than 300 employees and a $34 million dollar budget. He said his experience with balancing the books has taught him good government.
"Sometimes it's not easy to cut things you love but at the same time if you have to decide if you want to pay your water bill, your electric bill or take HBO off your cable bill, you're going to cut HBO off your cable bill. Some things are luxuries and that's what we need to look for in state government," Bacala said.
After serving 12 years in local government including four years as chairman of the Ascension Parish Council, Pat Bell said he is ready to take his experience to the house floor of the State Capitol.
"What's happening to our money? I'm going to find out about that," Bell said.
Finding the money to build a better infrastructure is a big part of his campaign.
"Roads, drainage, any project, I can assist. I've been chair of the Comite-Amite Diversion Canal Project and on the Pontchartrain Levee Board. I am very well aware of floods and water and so forth. So I can help out," Bell said.
Newcomer to the political arena, Attorney Rusty Messer, has experience in molding a successful office equipment company.
"I think I represent the future of where Louisiana is headed," Messer said.
The former entrepreneur, like his opponents, has his eyes glued to the state budget crisis among other things. Messer said he wants to take a broader look at the state's financial dilemma.
"We have been running our budget on one time funds. We've been raiding education, raiding healthcare. We can't keep doing that. We have to go back and take a real hard look at the budget. I think we need to look at the parts of the budget that are off limits and put that before the people and say, hey do you want to rededicate some of those funds," Messer said.
Roughly $27,000 voters will decide which of the three candidates will be the next to represent District 59 on October 24, 2015.
Click the links below to learn more about each candidate.