BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The two candidates in the runoff for East Baton Rouge mayor-president, incumbent Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome and former state Rep. Steve Carter, participated in a forum held by the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday, Nov. 30.
The hour-long forum, held outdoors at the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, comes three days before Broome and Carter are scheduled to square off in the final mayoral debate Thursday, Dec. 3. The final mayoral debate will be moderated by 9News’ Greg Meriwether and will be televised on WAFB-TV.
Neither candidate offered specific plans to reduce traffic or improve the economy. But both Broome and Carter would give police officers a pay raise to improve recruitment and retention efforts in BRPD.
Carter says the department is understaffed. He says he would meet with experts and mayors from other cities that have reduced homicide rates to formulate a more specific plan.
“We’re having to be reactive instead of proactive,” Carter said. “I think we have some problems with morale in the police force.”
Broome blames this year’s historic spike in crime on the Coronavirus, noting homicide rates have risen in most mid-sized cities. She endorsed chief Murphy Paul, and says she wouldn’t have to “think twice” about bringing him back.
“He has been able to, with his team, work to close the gap with the community and the police department,” Broome said. “He’s not stayed in his office. He’s gone out in the community and calls people on a regular basis.”
The two candidates also sparred over drainage issues. Broome touted her stormwater master plan, which is the parish’s first comprehensive strategy to reduce flooding over time. She noted she secured funding from the federal and state government to unclog backed-up bayous in the parish.
“I live in the Bocage area,” Carter retorted. “If you go down Corporate boulevard, when it rains hard, there may be a foot of water there.”
Carter argues that the parish has not done a good enough job of clearing ditches and culverts under Broome’s leadership.
The runoff election for East Baton Rouge mayor-president will be held Saturday, Dec. 5.
WAFB’s Matt Houston was at the forum and will have a full report on what both candidates said on 9News at 4,5, and 6.
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