Baton Rouge mayoral candidates speak to key issues at public forum

Baton Rouge mayoral candidates speak to key issues at public forum
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - With just over a month until voters choose the next mayor of Baton Rouge, candidates got the chance to rally for support Friday at a public forum at Drusilla Seafood.

Five of the 12 candidates took advantage of the opportunity to make their pitch before members of the American Institute of Architects.

"I'm running to give my daughter the same opportunities that I had and the ones that I didn't have and to do that for all of our children," said East Baton Rouge Metro Councilman John Delgado.

"What's important now for Baton Rouge is not the same as what was important for Baton Rouge two months ago," added Greg LaFleur.

Recent events like the shooting death of Alton Sterling, the attack on law enforcement and the historic flood dominated much of the conversation with each candidate offering their personal perspective on the problems.

"I'm a real advocate of police officers and I have a lot of respect for our police officers because without them we couldn't survive it whenever a police officer whenever you have a bad one and they make a mistake, it is drastic," LaFleur said.

"We got a rain that nobody could prepare for," said state Sen. Bodi White. "We've got to get the attention of FEMA, Congress and the U.S. Senate to help us."

Many of the candidates though say it is important to not let recent challenges overshadow key issues like the crippling traffic problems, crime and a city divided this election.

"In recent years, we've seen where each part of the city feels like it's not being served," said Darryl Gissel. "North Baton Rouge has had issues with healthcare and blight. South Baton Rouge has had the issues of education and traffic flow and you've seen that divide."

"Our bus system for God's sake is bad," said Smokie Bourgeois. "Honey, you're going to believe me or your lying eyes because we all see what goes on with CATS and then we always reading in the paper how much CATS has improved."

While the candidates are very diverse in their plans, all agree this election is vital to the future of the city.

"It's going to be a very important turning point in our parish and in the city of Baton Rouge," White added.

Not all of the candidates were at the forum Friday. Organizers say some of them had conflicts but they did extend the invitation to each of the twelve people running for the position.

Other candidates include Beverly Amador, Sharon Weston Broome, Rufus Craig, Braylon Hyde, Rep. C. Denise Marcelle, Byron Sharper and Cade Williams.

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