All four candidates for the state House District 58 seat say job creation and education are the greatest needs facing the district.
The race pits longtime Ascension Parish School Board member Ed Price against political newcomers Gail Holland, a Gonzales attorney; Dwayne Bailey, a supervisor at Shell/Motiva in Convent; and entrepreneur Chris Delpit, who runs his own glass-cutting business.
Current District 58 Rep. Elton Aubert is running for the Senate District 2 seat.
To create economic growth in the short term, Holland said, Louisiana should seek businesses that have a need for the state’s current workforce, and simultaneously work to improve schools as a long-term solution. “A skilled, educated workforce will attract more and more businesses to Louisiana,” he said.
Education is the way out of poverty, Holland added, and “a government cannot tax its people out of debt. There must be a judicious realignment of the state’s priorities. For example, funds that are currently spent to house infirm prisoners could be better spent by placing them in restricted nursing home facilities. The savings can be redirected to invest in education, which will, in turn, facilitate economic development and increase state revenues.”
Bailey said he favors cutting expenses by redirecting emergency room visits that are non-emergencies to the proper health care centers, reducing pet projects, and using some rainy day funds and tax amnesties to help balance the budget.
He said he also favors offering tuition incentives and waivers to private and parochial school students while working to improve education throughout the district. On the state level, Bailey said, improving state educational benchmarks will act as incentive for businesses to relocate to the district.
Price said that in the face of declining revenue, the state should look at every item in the budget, seeking ways to cut spending. “Though I am not in favor of raising taxes, I think we as a state need to possibly look at a constitutional convention to restructure our tax system as a whole,” Price said.
Price said he agrees that a good education is key to a competitive workforce: “I will continue to fight to ensure that every child receives the best education possible. I will also focus on technical education to help create a ready workforce for business and industry.”
Delpit said the district and state need better housing, better education, and more jobs, adding that education is key to raising living standards.
Delpit said he’d like to cut the state’s expenses by hiring those on parole to do mowing and maintenance work on state roads. “That would raise confidence level of those lost in the system,” he said. Restitution could be taken out of their checks, he added, and they’d be paying their own way while learning a skill.
DWAYNE ‘GULLY’ BAILEY
48, supervisor operator at Shell/Motiva in Convent.
EDUCATION: Donaldsonville High School; bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism,
Appointed by Gov. Mike
Foster to Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities; served on Donaldsonville Industrial Board and as director of the Donaldsonville Community Health Coalition.
HEURLIN ‘CHRIS’ DELPIT
52, CEO of Swat Inc., a glass-cutting company.
EDUCATION: Attended East Ascension High School; graduated from high school in California; attended MiraCosta Community College,
Oceanside, Calif., for 2 years.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None.
47, attorney, Holland Law Firm LLC.
EDUCATION: East Ascension High School; bachelor of science in business administration, Oral Roberts University; J.D., Southern
University Law Center.
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Assistant district attorney, 23rd Judicial District; assistant attorney general in both the Gaming and Civil Rights Divisions; contract state staff attorney during the 2010 Legislative session.
58, supervisor at BASF Corp.
EDUCATION: East Ascension High School; bachelor’s degree in political science,
Grambling State University.
Ascension Parish School Board, 26 years, including 12 as board president; president of the Louisiana School Boards Association; chairman of LSBA legislative committee and 2010 LSBA Board member of the year.
WHERE TO VOTE
Ward/Precinct and location
36 Gonzales Middle
37 Gonzales Middle
39 Darrow Community Center
42 Faith Academy
44 Marchand School
45 Modeste Fire Station
47 Ascension Parish Health Unit
48 Old Donaldsonville Elementary
49 Old Donaldsonville Elementary
50 New Donaldsonville Elementary
51 National Guard Armory
52 Donaldsonville High
53 Lowery Intermediate
54 Donaldsonville Housing Authority
55 Donaldsonville High
56 National Guard Armory
57 Donaldsonville Housing Authority
60 Dutchtown High
74 New Donaldsonville Elementary
1 White Castle Community Center
2 White Castle Community Center
3 White Castle Community Center
11 Recreation Building
12 Gillis Long Hansen Disease Center
St. James Parish
1 Gramercy Town Hall
1A Gramercy Town Hall
2 Gramercy Town Hall
5B Lutcher Elementary Band Building
7 Lutcher Elementary Band Building
7A Lutcher Elementary Band Building
8 Grand Point Fire Station
8A Paulina Elementary
8B Paulina Elementary
8C Grand Point Fire Station
9A Grand Point Fire Station
10 St. James Parish Courthouse
11 St. James Parish Courthouse
12 Union-Convent Volunteer Fire Station
13 Fifth Ward Elementary
14 St. James High Cafeteria
15 St. James Courthouse Annex
15A St. James Courthouse Annex
15B St. James Courthouse Annex
15C St. James Courthouse Annex
16 St. James Courthouse Annex
16A West Bank Operations Building
16B Vacherie Elementary Auditorium
17 Vacherie Elementary Auditorium
17A Vacherie Elementary Auditorium
17B Vacherie Elementary Auditorium
18 Vacherie Elementary Auditorium