BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Both candidates in the runoff election for East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President took part in a debate on WAFB-TV Thursday, Dec. 3.
Incumbent Sharon Weston-Broome came just 4,000 votes short of winning re-election outright last week. She is now in a runoff with the second-place finisher, former state representative Steve Carter.
WAFB Managing Editor and News Anchor Greg Meriwether moderated the one-hour debate Thursday night. Topics included the COVID-19 pandemic, drainage, policing, traffic, and many others.
“If East Baton Rouge were a football team, a four-year losing streak like this, gets the coach fired,” said Steve Carter.
“I never hide from crisis; I lead in crisis. I don’t flinch in the face of sacrifice, I’m visible and accounted for,” said Sharon Weston Broome.
From the big topics like crime.
“In 2018 and 2019, our numbers were going down consistently as it relates to violent crime.
What happened in 2020, COVID-19, a pandemic,” said Broome.
“We need to make sure that we fully staff our police force, because we’re having to react to situations and not act to situations,” said Carter.
To questions on the future of St. George.
“What stuck out for you in their plan for schools, or have you not seen a plan for schools?” questioned Greg Meriwether.
“To be honest with you, I have not seen the plan, but I know what they would like to do if I were in their shoes, it would be just like the charter,” said Carter.
“If [St. George organizers] would show you a plan, you’d go along with it, and respect the will of the people?” questioned Meriwether.
“That’s what the litigation is about, and that’s what we’ve been trying to explain, the litigation is about showing us a plan,” said Broome.
And saving businesses from going under from the pandemic.
“We implemented a Restart BR program, where we brought businesses together from my mayor’s business roundtable, to help us lead in a strategic approach,” said Broome.
“Allow them to reopen, and then we will check to make sure they are following the guidelines. If they’re not, they’re going to have to shut down. But we’ve got to help small businesses because that’s that the backbone of the city, the state, and the country,” said Carter.
They were asked if the Alton Sterling family deserves a settlement.
“I don’t know simply because I do think it needs to go to trial,” said Carter.
“Certainly, there should be resolution for the sterling family,” said Broome.
And it got testy over traffic lights synchronization in the parish.
“Can you tell me 2 or 3 now that have been done, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I’ll go by there tomorrow,” questioned Carter.
“Let’s go out there tomorrow and you can go out there tomorrow and we’ll look at them specifically,” said Broome.
But their final points hope to push you to the polls.
“Together, we can continue to build a community of peace, prosperity and progress,” said Broome.
“We need new leadership, we need bold courageous leadership, and I’m asking you to support me,” said Carter.
Election day is Saturday, December 5. To view your sample ballot and polling location, click here.
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