The Louisiana Legislature candidates running to represent north Baton Rouge said Wednesday at a forum they want the northern part of the city-parish to flourish the same way the southern part has.
Edmond Jordan, who is running for House District 29, and Barbara West Carpenter, who is running for House District 63, both applauded Southern University students and supporters for attending the forum held by news and commentary website The Rouge Collection.
None of the legislative candidates at the forum had their opponents present.
Jordan is running against Metro Councilwoman Ronnie Edwards. Both are Democrats. Edwards won 36 percent of the vote in the Oct. 24 primary, while Jordan won close to 29 percent to force a runoff.
“There’s so much work going on all around us right now, but somehow north Baton Rouge seems to be neglected,” Jordan said.
He said he is trying to find investors willing to support north Baton Rouge, as most of the city’s investors are primarily interested in downtown.
Jordan, an attorney, also said he could support the decriminalization of marijuana.
“I’ve never smoked marijuana a day in my life,” he said. “I know several people who have, and they have been very successful.”
Carpenter, a Democrat, is the dean of international education at Southern University. She’s in a runoff with former Metro Councilman Ulysses “Bones” Addison. She said it was disrespectful for Addison to ask for votes without showing up to the forum to answer questions.
Carpenter won nearly 30 percent of the vote in the primary, while Addison, also a Democrat, took home about 33 percent.
Carpenter said she is especially concerned about fixing the state’s budget in a special session and addressing the massive budget cuts to higher education over the past several years.
“Who can better represent higher education than one who is in it?” she asked.
Carpenter said she also supports expanding Medicaid and affordable health care.
Legislative candidates Ryan Heck, a Republican East Baton Rouge Parish Metro Council member running for House District 69, and Rick Edmonds, a Republican running for House District 66, also talked about their platforms at the forum.
Heck is running against former state Deputy Insurance Commissioner Paula Davis, also a Republican.
Edmonds is trying to oust Republican Darrell Ourso from his seat.
Heck also addressed the lack of development in north Baton Rouge, though his district is in another part of the city, saying he would like to see more incentives to bring development to the northern part of the city-parish.
Edmonds, who is the vice president of the Louisiana Family Forum, said one of they keys to helping educate children in north Baton Rouge is to develop more partnerships between schools and churches.
Early voting ends Saturday. The election is Nov. 21.