Incumbent Yvonne Dorsey is facing a challenge to her Senate District 14 re-election bid from a fellow Baton Rouge legislator as well as a political newcomer.
State Rep. Michael Jackson, ending three terms in the state House, and community activist Christopher Toombs are trying to oust Dorsey in the Oct. 22 primary election.
Dorsey and Jackson are Democrats. Toombs is a Republican.
As she runs, Dorsey points to legislative success in getting tax breaks for a downtown hotel and riverfront development. She said that’s leading to job creation and business in the district.
Dorsey also talks about her work as a private citizen rehabilitating inner-city property so it can be put back into commerce.
Jackson said he’s running because the city and Capital region is at a “critical point” in its economic and social development and that requires “diligent, on-the-job leadership.”
“I think I can provide that leadership,” Jackson said. “This campaign will bear out that she’s failed.”
The transportation and highway needs of the area are great, said Jackson, who has pushed mass transit upgrades including a rail line from Baton Rouge to New Orleans. He said the parish — the most populous in the state — should also get a larger share of health care dollars.
Toombs, a life-long district resident, said he sees a “a lot of neglect of the issues,” and a “lack of leadership.”
More needs to be done to salvaged young people who have run-ins with the law and efforts directed at enticing more small businesses to locate in the district to provide jobs. “It’s going to take pretty much a young person,” Toombs said.
All the candidates agree that poverty is the biggest single problem.
Senate District 14 runs along the Mississippi River from north of Airline Highway to the Iberville Parish line. The district includes the campuses of Southern University and LSU, west of Highland Road.
Seventy percent of the district’s 59,935 registered voters are black and 65 percent are registered as Democrats.
In general, they do not favor tax increases although Toombs said he would be amenable to an increase in riverboat franchise fees and cigarette taxes.
“A way out of poverty is certainly education,” Dorsey said. “And while people are down and need help we should help them.”
“Education is always the doorway of advancing oneself and weaning oneself or not being subjected to poverty,” Jackson said.
Jackson also said people need more access to capital to help start businesses that provide jobs.
The state needs to offer “seed money” to help businesses locate in the district, said Toombs.
Dorsey said there are already a lot of tax incentives to encourage economic growth such a film tax credits and tax incremental financing.
The state should be helping small business get a share of projects that are going to out of state firms by lowering some of the bonding requirements, she said.
Toombs said the state needs to stop cutting education spending. “The way to keep business here is improving education,” he said.
As legislators, Dorsey and Jackson grappled with how to close a $1.6 billion state budget hole in the current budget year. The budget situation is not supposed to improve much next year.
Each said it will be hard to cut the budget any further.
If budget cutting is required, Dorsey said it should be done across the board.
Jackson said the state needs to look for opportunities for more federal dollars as well as research funding..
“It is incumbent on us to at least examine our $700 million in tax exemptions given annually to make sure that we are just allowing tax exemptions to remain in effect without any real benefit,” said Jackson.
Jackson sponsored legislation last session requiring the look-see.
Toombs said the state should be focusing on changing laws to encourage business investment.
EDUCATION: B.A., LSU
EXPERIENCE: State representative and state senator.
EDUCATION: B.A., Southern University, J.D., Southern University Law Center
POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Three-term state representative.
30, process technician.
EDUCATION: B.A. Southern
WHERE TO VOTE
Ward/Precinct and location
East Baton Rouge Parish
1-1 Fire Station No. 12
1-3 South Boulevard FLAIM
1-4 New St. John Missionary Baptist Church
1-5 Alaska Street Recreation Center
1-6 Greater New Bethel Baptist Church
1-10 Park Elementary
1-13 City-Parish Office Building
1-14 Belfair Elementary
1-15 Greater New Guide Baptist Church
1-16 Community School for Apprenticeship Learning
1-17 DPW Traffic Engineering Building
1-18 Community School for Apprenticeship Learning
1-19 Wyandotte Elementary
1-21 Rosenwald Adult Education Center
1-22 Evangeline Fire Station No. 3
1-23 Delmont Elementary
1-24 St. Gerard Extended Care Building
1-25 St. Gerard Extended Care Building
1-26 Prescott Middle
1-27 Dalton Elementary
1-28 Winbourne Elementary
1-29 Istrouma High
1-30 Melrose Lower Elementary
1-31 Career Academy Charter School
1-32 Martin Luther King Community Center
1-36 Melrose Upper Elementary
1-37 Bernard Terrace Elementary
1-38 Dufrocq Elementary
1-39 Westdale Heights Magnet
1-45 Polk Elementary
1-46 University Terrace Elementary
1-50 Howell Park Elementary
1-51 Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center
1-57 Our Lady of Mercy - ECC
1-58 IFA Church
1-59 Valley Park Center
1-61 Mohican Special Education Cen ter
1-62 Choctaw Maintenance Center
1-63 Melrose Lower Elementary
1-64 Westdale Middle
1-65 Westdale Heights Magnet
1-67 St. Francis Xavier School
1-68 Buchanan Elementary
1-73 Cenikor Foundation
1-85 Banks Elementary
1-100 F.G. Clark Activity Center
1-102 Brightside Fire Station
1-107 Wildwood Elementary
3-5 Arlington Preparatory Academy
3-20 Ben Burge Park
3-23 Wildwood Elementary
3-44 The House of Repentance Baptist Church
3-50 Louisiana School for the Deaf
3-55 New Life Church of Baton Rouge