Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise is seeking a fourth full term representing the 1st Congressional District, stressing his conservative credentials.
Three candidates are challenging Scalise — all arguing that he’s part of the Washington gridlock that’s hurting Louisiana and the country as a whole.
Scalise, a former state legislator from Jefferson, won a special election in 2008 to finish the unexpired term of then-Congressman, now Governor Bobby Jindal. He’s moved into party leadership roles of late — first as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a conservative caucus, then earlier this year the whip’s job, which he said gives Louisiana influence.
Scalise said the continuing raid of the Social Security trust fund to pay for budget spending is a classic example of why “we need to get spending under control.” To preserve Social Security “the first thing we need to do is stop allowing congress to raid the trust fund,” he said.
Scalise said he will continue to work to repeal the federal Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, and put in its stead an alternative that puts patients back in charge of their health care decisions. “You don’t do it with mandates and taxes,” he said.
Dugas, a 52-year-old disabled Desert Storm veteran from Kenner, said Scalise “started out OK” representing the 1st District. But then, she said, he became a “lap dog” for House Speaker John Boehner and the Koch brothers, billionaire businessmen who promote conservative causes and candidates.
“I am disabled. I’m on a fixed income. I know what it’s like to feel like you don’t have a voice, the representatives not listening,” said Dugas. “Nobody’s paying attention. That’s what I’m running for — to let people know they do have a voice.”
Dugas said the federal Affordable Care Act “did a lot for me ... It’s not going to fit everybody, but personally it has reduced my medical costs.” The former emergency medical technician favors Medicaid expansion.
Dugas does not believe there is a problem with long-term funding of Social Security. “As long as there are people working, Social Security is going to be fine,” she said. She said talk of it going broke is “a scare tactic.”
“ To me Scalise is not doing enough for the people of the 1st District,” said Mendoza. “He’s not doing enough for low income people ... I have concerns for the people in the 1st District. That’s my main motivation.”
An organic farmer, Mendoza said he wants a clean environment. He said he is against the process of extracting oil and gas known as fracking because of the damage it does to water supplies and the earth.
“If we could expand our borders that would make all citizens in north America citizens of the U.S.” He said there should be a referendum. “We should welcome that as an expansion of American sovereignty.”
Sanford said people who have paid into Social Security and are within a certain number of years of being able to draw it should get it under existing terms. “The rest of it should be paid back, with interest ... and phase out Social Security,” he said.