Jeff Landry and Richard Nelson show face in second governor debate

Louisiana State Capital
Louisiana State Capital(WAFB)
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 10:20 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It was the first time all of us had a chance to see Republicans Jeff Landry and state Representative Richard Nelson share the debate stage with the other 5 major candidates.

“I have built a campaign about crime; I have stood in the shoes of people that struggle way more than they should in this state,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry (R).

“Texas and Florida grew 6 times faster than us in the last 10 years and we need to look at those states and bring that kind of tax reform here so we can keep the best and brightest here in Louisiana and that’s what I’ll do as governor,” added Rep. Nelson (R).

Like the first debate, candidates were faced with questions around the state’s abortion laws as well as holding state police accountable in light of the deadly beating of Ronald Greene back in 2019.

“I support today, the legislation as it exists. I have not seen any other exceptions that I can support expect for what we have right now under current state law,” said Sen. Sharon Hewitt (R), the only female candidate.

“It is not the place of the legislature to come between a doctor and a woman whether it’s with cancer, diabetes, or maternal health,” said former DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson (D), the only Democrat on stage.

“You have to address it, fix it, and make sure it doesn’t happen again,” echoed Treasurer John Schroder (R).

“The best way to do that is to make sure there is a proper investigation that happens quickly to know what happened on the ground and who should be held responsible,” explained Stephen Waguespack (R).

Each candidate said they were in favor of toll roads to help fund road and bridge projects if they were to be placed on roads that are used as shortcuts. Each of them except for Independent Hunter Lundy.

“If we would do things the right way, we wouldn’t have to be looking at tolls. A toll is a tax and I’m here with a group who says we don’t ever want to increase the taxes, but a toll is a tax,” said Lundy (I).

Several candidates have put out attack ads targeting opponents and the debate was a chance for each of them to defend themselves. All agreed the insurance home insurance crisis is at the forefront of issues the state faces but varied in how they would tackle the issue.

“There’s one law on the books that’s very unique to Louisiana that basically drives insurers to drop all policies in Louisiana if they’re going to drop one. I’d change that, grandfather in people that are currently covered by it but allow new policies not to so we can attract more insurers,” Rep. Nelson explained.

And everyone but Wilson said, if faced with another pandemic, they would take the exact opposite approach of Governor John Bel Edwards and not mandates masks or vaccines.

“I think it’s oxymoronic that we can put the government in between a woman and her doctor but not when it comes to vaccinations. The reality is you have to follow science and you have to follow data and this is about life and death. That could be something that we’d do,” said Wilson.

Closing remarks mostly consisted of candidates telling voters to go to their website for more information and a quick recap on their records of public service. early voting begins September 30th while election day is on October 14th.

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