The two candidates running for the House District 60 seat differ in their approach to spurring economic growth.
Incumbent Karen St. Germain, who owns a family business in Pierre Part, said she favors granting tax incentives to businesses that hire additional employees.
“With our business, we know what it’s like to be able to keep employees and also to bring in new ones,” she said.
Challenger Jason Morris, who owns a business in Baton Rouge, said removing regulations would go a long way to create economic growth.
“We must relax the regulatory oversight of the state and government. The cost of doing business in Louisiana has soared due to over-regulation,” he said.
Both candidates agree that raising taxes is not the way to balance the state’s budget.
Morris said state government has mismanaged tax revenues and taxpayers should not be forced to pay more.
Government, he said, should take a businesslike approach and cut spending to close the revenue gap.
“Any new fees or taxes come from the pockets of our citizens in some shape or form and need to be decreased,” Morris said.
St. Germain said state government needs to examine how to serve the public’s needs with the money available.
The key to that, she said, is for the government to seek input from the public on which programs are necessary and which programs can be considered luxuries.
“I don’t think anybody wants to pay more taxes,” St. Germain said. “I think everybody in this district is already paying absolutely what they can afford to pay.”
St. Germain said the state needs to focus on job creation, specifically the kind of jobs that create a wide range of employment options over a large area.
“So many of our college students are not finding jobs,” she said. “When you have large industries in an area, it benefits the entire region. That’s why we need to take care of our businesses. They create the jobs.”
Morris said the state’s education system needs to be revamped to include job training and basic-skills training.
“The ability to balance a checkbook, basic bookkeeping, training at the high school level for plumbers, welders and computer techs,” he said. “These are the men and women who are needed in our state and for some reason we ignore them.”
In House District 60, in particular, Morris said, the single greatest need is employment opportunities.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” he said. “The potholes in the road don’t really matter if you don’t have a job to drive to.”
St. Germain said District 60 competes with East Baton Rouge Parish for state transportation money and would benefit from some transportation upgrades.
“For example, Iberville is the only parish along the Mississippi River without a bridge,” she said. “The congestion in Baton Rouge is bad, but we shouldn’t always fall on the short end. To our people, Highway 1 is just as important as those major roads in Baton Rouge.”
JASON A. MORRIS
42, business owner.
EDUCATION: B.S., LSU.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None.
KAREN ST. GERMAIN
Democrat, Pierre Part.
EDUCATION: Associate’s degree, LSU.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: State representative, legislative assistant.
WHERE TO VOTE
Ward/Precinct and location
1-1 Belle Rose Primary
1-2 Assumption Catholic Hall
2-1 Agricultural Complex Office/ Warehouse
4-2 Labadieville Volunteer Fire Dept.
5-1 Napoleonville Volunteer Fire Dept.
5-2 Napoleonville Middle
5-3 Napoleonville Volunteer Fire Dept.
5-4 Napoleonville Middle
5-5 St. Elizabeth Gym
6-1 St. Elizabeth Gym
6-1A St. Elizabeth Gym
6-2 St. Benedict de Moore Church Hall
6-3 Belle Rose Middle
7-1 Belle Rose Middle
7-1A Belle Rose Middle
7-2 Charles Landry Grocery Store
7-3 Assumption Parish Library, Pierre Part
7-4 Belle Rose Primary
8-1 Assumption Parish Library, Pierre Part
8-1A Assumption Parish Library, Pierre Part
8-2 Pierre Part Middle
9-1 Pierre Part Middle
9-1A Pierre Part Middle
4 White Castle Fire Station No. 3
5 Bayou Pigeon Library
6 Bayou Goula Volunteer Fire Dept.
6A White Castle Fire Station No. 3
7 Bayou Goula Volunteer Fire Dept.
8 Pt. Pleasant Recreational Building
10 St. Gabriel Library
13 E.J. Gay School
13A E.J. Gay School
13B E.J. Gay School
13C E.J. Gay School
14 Plaquemine Junior High Concession Stand
14A Plaquemine Junior High Concession Stand
14B Plaquemine Junior High Concession Stand
15 American Legion Post No. 167
15A Crescent School
15B Library Building
16 Iberville Middle
17 Library Building
17A Library Building
18 Knights of Columbus
19 Iberville Council on Aging
19A Parish Vocational-Technical School
20 Gascon Wintz Building
21 Fire Station
22 Plaquemine Lions Club
23 Parish Vocational-Technical School
24 Crescent School
25 Bayou Sorrel Library
25A Bayou Sorrel Library
25B Bayou Sorrel Library
26 Crescent School
26A Crescent School
27 Bayou Blue Volunteer Fire Dept.
28 Rosedale Town Hall
29 Grosse Tete Town Hall
30 Rosedale Town Hall