Three of the four candidates for Louisiana governor fielded questions from college students in the first televised forum of the race Wednesday night.
Democrat John Bel Edwards and Republicans Jay Dardenne and Scott Angelle all participated in the forum, which aired across the state and online via Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
The event featured questions from Southeastern Louisiana University and Northshore Technical Community College students.
The forum was the latest in a series touching on specific topics. Republican David Vitter was not in attendance.
Over the course of the hour-long forum, candidates answered questions about higher education issues — including the future of the state’s Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, commonly known as TOP; the state’s workforce outlook; and sex education in classrooms.
Each of the candidates stressed the importance of TOPS and expressed a commitment to the future of the program, though in varying ways.
Both Edwards and Dardenne said they were sympathetic to changes to ensure the program’s longevity, while Angelle was light on policy alterations.
All three candidates stressed the state’s need to build a business-friendly environment to further the workforce options for graduates.
All said they favor sex education in some form, although Angelle said he would include a parental “opt-out” provision.
At various points, each candidate took a swing at Gov. Bobby Jindal, though the Republican presidential candidate didn’t necessarily dominate conversation. Jindal is term limited and can’t seek reelection to the state’s top office.
In one of the lighter moments, candidates were asked to name which famous Hollywood actor he would pick to portray himself in a movie.
Here are their answers:
Angelle: Tom Hanks
Edwards: Tom Cruise
Dardenne: Dustin Hoffman