Three Republicans and two Democrats are vying to replace term-limited state Rep. Tom McVea, R-St. Francisville, in House District 62.

The Republicans are all political newcomers — businessmen Kenny Havard and Bob Arnold and policy analyst Rob Farmer — who are being challenged by politically experienced Democrats in West Feliciana Police Jury President Ken Dawson and former Norwood Mayor Ronnie Jett.

The revised, mostly rural District 62 contains northern Zachary, the St. Francisville areas of West Feliciana Parish and southern East Feliciana Parish, including Norwood, Jackson and Slaughter.

The redrawn district contains more racial minorities now, but remains more than 60 percent white.

The district has high-scoring public school districts in the Zachary Community School District and West Feliciana Parish’s schools, but also some of the state’s lowest performing schools, in East Feliciana Parish.

Havard, a business executive in oil and gas sales; Arnold, an industrial services business owner; and Farmer, a policy analyst for the Louisiana Commission on Crime, all said they are running primarily on the platform of protecting and creating jobs and enhancing technical education and training to develop a more skilled workforce.

All the candidates discussed the need to protect the jobs of the many state employees who live in the district, not just those who commute to Baton Rouge, but the residents who work at state facilities like the East Louisiana State Hospital and Dixon Correctional Institute.

“Jobs, jobs, jobs — I can’t say it enough,” said Havard, of St. Francisville.

“That’s one thing the entire district has in common — the need for economic development,” said Arnold, who resides in Clinton.

“It’s time for the next generation of leaders,” said Farmer, of St. Francisville. “It’s a very complex district in the sense that it’s very diverse, and we need to bring economic development to all the areas.”

But as the most politically experienced candidate, Dawson said, he has the strongest alliances and leadership ability to help the district thrive economically and educationally.

Dawson, who describes himself as a conservative Democrat from St. Francisville, said he will develop an overall regional plan to protect jobs, bring in more “hi-tech, clean energy” industry, improve technical college offerings and more by linking everything together.

“I’m a candidate who’s interested in moving forward,” Dawson said. “The only issues you’ll have with me is if you’re standing still … If I create some political enemies, then so be it.”

Jett may be the oldest candidate at 64, but he also has the most eclectic background, having served as a mayor, a business owner, a former paper mill worker and a retired deputy warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

“It’s my civic duty to get in this race, and I think I have the experience to help the people,” Jett said.

“I’m a businessman with common sense … I’m an old fella with a lot of experience,” he said.

“You get people educated and then the jobs will be there,” Jett said. “Make the community more business friendly. Cut out the red tape and all the stuff they have to go through.”

Arnold said job growth can be boosted by creating a more inviting district through improving roads and sewerage services.

Arnold said he will push for eliminating government waste and reforming state welfare programs, including drug testing for welfare recipients.

After axing slush funds, pet projects and discretionary spending, Arnold also wants to phase out the state income tax. Farmer agreed on the income tax issue with a “well-reasoned, staggered approach.”

Havard said the state government must cut its spending by eliminating duplication and limiting state contracts.

Then, Havard said, the state can stop “over regulating and overtaxing our citizens.”

Farmer said “tort reform” will help spur economic development and boost state revenues because businesses are concerned about their “legal exposure” in Louisiana.

“Perception is reality,” Farmer said.

No one is supporting tax hikes.

As another means of economic development, Dawson said, the state can improve economically by continuing to grow as Hollywood south by boosting the infrastructure and incentives so much more movie production will take place in Louisiana, and not just the filming.

BOB ARNOLD

Republican, Clinton.

52, industrial inspections sales and services business owner.

EDUCATION: Attended Southwest Mississippi Community College, Brewton-Parker College and LSU.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None.

KEN DAWSON

Democrat, St. Francisville.

53, business owner and engineering consultant.

EDUCATION: B.S., Southern University.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: West Feliciana Police Jury president.

ROB FARMER

Republican, St. Francisville.

40, Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement policy adviser.

EDUCATION: B.A., LSU; J.D., Loyola University.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None.

KENNY HAVARD

Republican, St. Francisville.

40, business development executive for oil and gas sales.

EDUCATION: A.D., ITI Technical College.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None.

RONNIE JETT

Democrat, Norwood.

64, retired businessman.

EDUCATION: Attended LSU.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Former Norwood mayor.

WHERE TO VOTE

Ward/Precinct and location

East Baton Rouge Parish

2-21 Zachary Police-Court Building

2-26 Grace Baptist Church

2-8 Zachary City Hall

2-29 Northwestern Middle

2-32 Northwestern Middle

East Feliciana Parish

1-1 Slaughter Town Hall

1-2A Slaughter Town Hall

1-2B Highway 68 Voting Booth

1-3 Highway 68 Voting Booth

2-1A Ethel Fire Station

2-1B Ethel Fire Station

2-1C Ethel Fire Station

3-1A Jackson Civic Center

3-1B Jackson Civic Center

3-1C Jackson Civic Center

3-2A Martin Luther King Park

3-2B Martin Luther King Park

4-1A Wilson Community Center

4-1B Wilson Community Center

4-2 Norwood Town Hall

5-1 A Clinton Fire Dept.

5-1 B Clinton Fire Dept.

5-2 Highway 67 Voting Booth (South)

5-3 Clinton Fire Dept.

6-1 Bluff Creek Volunteer Fire Dept.

West Feliciana Parish

1-1A Parish Courthouse

1-1B Parish Courthouse

2-1A Elm Park Fire Station

2-1B Elm Park Fire Station

2-2 Star Hill Fire Station

3-2 Weyanoke Fire Station

3-A Solitude Fire Station

03-3B Solitude Fire Station

4-2 Spillman Fire Station

4-3 Rosemound Fire Station

5-1 Spillman Fire Station

5-2 Bains Elementary

5-3A Rosemound Fire Station

5-3B Rosemound Fire Station

6-1 St. Francisville Town Hall

6-2 Wakefield Fire Station

6-3A Rosemound Fire Station

6-03B Rosemound Fire Station

7-1A St. Francisville Town Hall

7-1B St. Francisville Town Hall

7-2A West Feliciana Community Center

7-2B West Feliciana Community Center

7-4 St. Francisville Town Hall