Race for District 10 council seat includes incumbent, former member

Race for District 10 council seat includes incumbent, former member

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One position people will be voting for during the November election is a seat on the Metro Council to represent District 10 with candidates that include the incumbent who has held the spot for eight years and a familiar face.

Councilwoman Tara Wicker has held onto her District 10 seat for two terms, but she will have to fend off new challengers if she wants to serve a third term for the area that includes downtown Baton Rouge, the Garden District, and LSU.

Wicker and two other candidates appeared at a public forum Tuesday.

Wicker said her number one focus is helping people stay in her district following the summer's devastating flooding.

"If we can't keep our population, then we're in trouble," Wicker said. "So I think our first priority has to be how do we set in place a strategic plan that allows for us to be able to retain our population."

Lorri Burgess is running for a seat that she has already held. She was the District 10 councilwoman from 1997 to 2008 and had to give it up because of term limits with Wicker taking over.

Burgess said she was motivated to return to public service following the hectic summer.

"We have to have someone that's going to sit at the table, and be able to move," Burgess said. "I don't want to be a talking head. I want to be a person in action."

Patricia Bennett-Briggs is a real estate broker that grew up in Baton Rouge and went to Southern University. She said education at the elementary, high school and college levels is her top priority.

"I want our best investments that we could make to be in our youth, and I really feel that we should invest into it," Bennett-Briggs said.

The candidates also addressed two proposed ordinances. All three said they are strongly against a proposed ordinance requiring officers with the Baton Rouge Police Department to live in the city.

However, only Burgess said she would support a fairness ordinance, a law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The primary election will be held on November 8, and a runoff will be on December 10 if necessary.

WAFB made multiple attempts to reach out to two other candidates listed on the ballot - Leah Cullins and Terri Anderson. Neither showed up at the forum, and they did not return WAFB's messages.

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