BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Governor John Bel Edwards laid out big goals for himself at Press Club Monday.
Edwards listed a raise in teacher salaries and the minimum wage as two of his top priorities. He says the minimum wage is a subject he’s had his eye on from the beginning.
“Doing what I told the people of Louisiana I was going to do when I ran for governor,” Edwards said. “I mean, it was no secret that I was gonna' ask for a modest, but meaningful increase in the minimum wage.”
Several attempts to pass a higher minimum wage have failed in the state legislature. Edwards said he would like to see teacher pay increase by an average of around $1,000 annually. He also said he wants no special sessions this year, as opposed to the many additional sessions the legislature required over the past three years while dealing with the budget crisis.
Edwards is also up for re-election in November. So far, only businessman, Eddie Rispone, and Ralph Abraham have said they’ll oppose him. Leading prospective candidates, Jeff Landry and John Kennedy, have said they will not run.
“While we still have our challenges, we are in a much better position to meet those challenges because we can do so from a position of strength,” Edwards said. “So I’m optimistic about the election this year.”
Edwards also said he wants to resolve the duplication of benefits issue and would be in favor of sports betting in Louisiana. He doesn’t believe it would add a lot of revenue to the state, but he wants to maintain a competitive edge with casinos in Mississippi, which recently legalized sports betting.