Garret Graves gets an opponent in Congressional race

Updated: Jan. 27, 2018 at 8:16 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Rep. Garret Graves has already gained an opponent in this year's race for Congress.

Democrat Justin Dewitt - a political novice - believes that Republican Graves is out of touch. A Zachary High Grad from Sulphur who currently lives in Baton Rouge, Dewitt has done surveying work for the past decade.

"In order to represent the district better, he has to have lived the district's needs," Dewitt said. "I know what it's like to be on minimum wage, I know what it's like to work every day, I know what it's like to be outside and do a job and sweat."

Like many in the capital region, Dewitt says he wants to improve infrastructure - especially flood prevention. "I'd like to see a Comite Diversion Canal, I'd like to see better drainage structures," he said.

He says Graves has not done enough. The Congressman disputes that, arguing they have boosted funding levels for projects. "The record is crystal clear," Graves said.

Dewitt believes Medicaid expansion was a good thing for Louisiana - it currently provides insurance for more than 460,000 Louisianans.

On flood insurance, he says more people need to participate, though he offered few specifics on how to achieve that. "To expand the insurance is the goal. What the details of that is, that would have to be -- obviously that's a very touchy subject and Congress would have to debate," he said.

Dewitt is openly gay, rare for a Congressional candidate in Louisiana. "I'm a human, I'm a person, I'm running to help my community which is the entire 6th district," he said.

Graves says he welcomes the competition and the chance, he says, to be held "accountable."

"It's why we do Facebook lives. It's why we do telephone town halls. It's why I go out and meet with people every time I'm home," he said. Graves is in his second term.

Election day is still a long way off, set for Tuesday, Nov. 6. A runoff - if necessary - is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 8.

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