Both state Rep. Franklin Foil and his opponent in the upcoming election, Greg Baldwin, champion education as a way to strengthen Louisiana’s economy.
On other issues, they differ.
Foil, a Republican, hopes to hold onto his south Baton Rouge seat of state House District 70 for a second term. Baldwin, who has no party affiliation, is vying to oust Foil from office.
Foil is a lawyer. Baldwin is a retired lab supervisor who served on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board.
The primary election is Oct. 22.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to run for re-election,” Foil said. “I’ve learned a lot.”
Baldwin said he is running because he disagreed with legislators voting in favor of a pay raise for themselves and voting against an anti-bullying bill because it might promote homosexuality.
Foil voted in favor of the pay raise, triggering a recall effort that ultimately failed. He voted against the anti-bullying bill that sought to include sexual orientation as one of the things for which children should not be bullied.
“I don’t agree with the way legislators are voting,” Baldwin said.
Of his four-year tenure as a freshman legislator, Foil said he is proudest of sponsoring legislation that requires many state businesses to offer health insurance coverage for children with autism. Foil’s 11-year-old son is autistic. He said he authored the legislation at the request of other parents of autistic children.
“If you’re not faced with something, then you’re not going to champion it,” Foil said.
Both Baldwin and Foil identify education as the way to create more economic growth in Louisiana and to eradicate poverty.
“Everything is tied to education,” Baldwin said. “If we have an educated populace, we have more jobs and better jobs.”
He said education impacts everything from crime to health care.
“Fund education first and fully and then we can squabble over the rest,” Baldwin said.
Foil said education needs a steadier source of revenue such as dedicating money from Baton Rouge’s newest riverboat. He made that proposal earlier this year only to see the legislation die on the House floor. He said too little gambling revenue goes to higher education.
“Education is huge, and that’s at all levels,” Foil said.
To solve the state’s budget problems, Baldwin favors funding education first and then tackling everything else, whether through raising taxes or cutting spending. Foil wants to study whether the state constitution should be redrafted to free up dollars that are tied to specific expenses.
Foil said the state is on the right track by cutting spending and not raising taxes.
For the House 70 district, which is largely white, Foil sees traffic snarls as the biggest problem. He said better roads and infrastructure are needed.
Baldwin thinks a heavier emphasis on vocational training is needed to help the district’s residents. He said not everyone goes to college but everyone needs a job.
No Party, Baton Rouge.
EDUCATION: B.A. in liberal arts, LSU.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Former East Baton Rouge School Board member.
Republican, Baton Rouge.
EDUCATION: B.A. in political science, LSU; J.D., Loyola School of Law.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Four years as a state legislator.
WHERE TO VOTE
Ward/Precinct and location
East Baton Rouge Parish
1-12 Kenilworth Science and Technology School
1-43 Highland Elementary
1-47 Kenilworth Science and Technology School
1-56 Glasgow Middle
1-66 New Life Church of Baton Rouge
1-69 Highland Elementary
1-75 Magnolia Woods Elementary
1-107 Wildwood Elementary
3-4 Mayfair Elementary
3-5 Arlington Preparatory Academy
3-23 Wildwood Elementary
3-36 Bluebonnet Regional Library
3-40 Highland Road Park Recreation Center
3-44 The House of Repentance Baptist Church
3-49 Mayfair Middle
3-55 New Life Church of Baton Rouge