State Rep. Clif Richardson, R-Central, said government policies should help prepare people for jobs.
Richardson won a second term to the House District 65 seat when nobody signed up to oppose his re-election.
Richardson said he backs legislative efforts to make a more accessible “dual diploma” in high school. Not every student wants to go to college, he said. Those students would be better served to learn a craft in high school, he said.
That way students would arrive at the workplace better prepared for on-the-job and apprentice training.
“We need to work more in that direction,” said Richardson, a retired electrical contractor who owned Rebel Electrical Co.
Richardson sits on the House Education Committee as well as the House Civil Law and Procedure Committee.
Hoping to offset declining revenues to raise enough money to pay for some existing services, Gov. Bobby Jindal and House fiscal leaders argued during the legislative session earlier this year that fee increases — such as those proposed to increase tuition — were fair because only users of a particular service paid the higher amount.
Richardson said he doesn’t accept that argument.
“Fee increases and taxes are just different words for the same thing. It still costs people money,” Richardson said.
The way to balance the budget is to cut spending, he said.
But that doesn’t mean just slashing, Richardson said.
Government needs to find ways to work smarter, to pursue systems that work, he said.
For instance, he said, regulations should be made more flexible so that those receiving government benefits don’t lose everything if they take a job. “We need a graduated scale or some sort of flexibility so that people don’t lose” all their benefits and thereby choose not to accept lower paying employment, Richardson said.
Richardson’s district in the northeastern portions of East Baton Rouge Parish has witnessed phenomenal growth as it has transformed over the past couple of decades from a predominantly rural enclave into suburban housing developments.
Infrastructure growth has not kept pace with the population increases, Richardson said.
Richardson said a major part of his job is to help direct money to widen and improve roads and bridges.
Only three bridges cross the Amite River into adjacent Livingston Parish, which has seen its own growth spurt.
Interstate 12, Florida Boulevard have bridges and the third one has two lanes and was built in the 1950s on Greenwell Springs Road.
“The traffic is terrible,” Richardson said. “And if one of those bridges have wreck or a slow down, then traffic gets even worse.”
67, retired electrical contractor.
EDUCATION: Independence High School.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Justice of the Peace.
WHERE TO VOTE
Ward/Precinct and location
East Baton Rouge Parish
1-89 Episcopal High
1-97 Dept. of Public Works East Lot
1-98 Wedgewood Elementary
3-1 Grace United Pentacostal Church
3-6 Central Middle
3-9 St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
3-12 Riveroaks Elementary
3-14 Central Middle
3-21 Southeast Middle
3-25 Central High
3-26 Bellingrath Hills Elementary
3-28 Forest Park - BREC
3-30 Tanglewood Elementary
3-32 Eastside Volunteer Fire Station
3-46 Bellingrath Hills Elementary
3-54 Dept. of Public Works East Lot