When former state Rep. Avon Honey died suddenly last year, Dalton Honoré won his District 63 legislative seat with the support of Honey’s family.

One year later, Honoré, D-Baton Rouge, is facing three opponents as he runs for re-election to serve his first full term in the north Baton Rouge district, which includes Scotlandville, and parts of Baker and Zachary.

“I enjoy doing what I’m doing,” Honoré said. “My district knows me really well. … I bring life experience and knowledge of the legislature.”

The only Democrat running against him is Ronald Rodgers Jr., 30, of Baker, who works as the University of Phoenix’s corporate education liaison.

Rodgers said he believes Honoré is vulnerable because he has only served a year in office. “I believe it’s time for fresh leadership,” he said.

The other candidates are architect Hillery Godfrey Johnson, No Party-Baton Rouge, and Barbara Thomas, a Baton Rouge Republican, who was the executive director of the North Baton Rouge Women’s Health Center.

Thomas also was the first vice president of the Republican Women of Baton Rouge.

Thomas said party affiliation should not matter in the heavily Democrat-leaning district because she is a proven commodity who has worked to improve services for District 63 residents for many years.

“My reputation is already here in north Baton Rouge,” Thomas said. “I have my own name recognition.”

Johnson said he has been a Democrat and a Republican and that he is not satisfied with either major party.

“We need more innovation in the Legislature,” Johnson said. “I’m not one to be quiet.”

The candidates primarily cited economic development, education and crime as the key issues challenging the district.

“Everybody talks about crime,” Honoré said. “But if we had good education programs to capture those young people and go teach them a skill, then that would solve a lot of the problems early.”

As a member of the Metro Airport board of commissioners, Honoré also said expanding airport services is a key priority for the district.

While education is critical, Rodgers said, he also wants to focus on developing small business incubators, fixing blighted properties and establishing a economic development corridor along and near Plank Road.

“We have to make sure our home is inviting,” Rodgers said. “We have great potential.”

Johnson wants to enhance research funding at Southern University to help spur economic development.

He also wants to focus on quality-of-life issues such as improving downtown, bringing more hi-tech jobs to northern Baton Rouge, building a high-speed rail for the Interstate 10 corridor and even bringing a minor league baseball team to the city.

“We’re still playing games here. All our young, energetic talent leaves,” Johnson said. “We’re an excellent city, but we need to improve.”

Thomas wants to bring more vocational and technical training to the district, while also adding more public transportation services.

Thomas said she will work to reduce corporate and business taxes to free up industries to hire more people in District 63, while also supporting small- business growth.

But everything should be done with the idea of putting families first. “That’s my motto,” she said.

As for state government’s ongoing budget problems, Honoré said, “We must learn to live within our means.”

Reducing spending is key, Honoré said, and he does not plan to support any tax increases for now.

Johnson also does not support tax increases, but that he would back some fees like toll roads to help improve the area’s infrastructure.

Rodgers said he will only support certain taxes, like increasing the state’s tobacco tax.

Thomas said she is not completely “anti-tax,” but she does not want to support any hikes for now out of concern of burdening families further.

The focus of balancing the state budget should be on making carefully examined cuts.

“If you don’t have the income to pay for it, you’ve got to cut somewhere,” she said. “You’ve got to say, ‘Ouch,’ and cut it.”


Democrat, Baton Rouge.

68, retired businessman and retired legal investigator for the East Baton Rouge Parish Attorney’s Office.

EDUCATION: B.S., Southern University.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Incumbent District 63 state representative.


No Party, Baton Rouge.

57, architect.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of architecture, Southern University.



Democrat, Baker.

30, University of Phoenix corporate education liaison.

EDUCATION: B.S. and M.B.A., University of Phoenix; master’s in public administration, LSU.



Republican, Baton Rouge.

56, founder and former executive director of the North Baton Rouge Women’s Health Center.

EDUCATION: Associate degree, Spencer Draughon Business College.



Ward/Precinct and location

East Baton Rouge Parish

1-86 J.K. Haynes Elementary Christian School

1-91 Ryan Elementary

1-92 Scotlandville Elementary

1-94 1st Presbyterian Church of Scotlandville

1-95 Crestworth Learning Academy

1-100 F.G. Clark Activity Center

1-101 Progress Elementary

2-2 Baker Heights Elementary

2-4 Baker High

2-5 Zachary High

2-9 Baker Middle

2-12 Brownfields Elementary

2-13 Bakerfield Elementary

2-17 Baker Town Hall

2-18 Zachary Elementary

2-19 Baker High

2-20 Bakerfield Elementary

2-22 Beechwood Elementary

2-24 Alsen BREC Recreation Center

2-25 Bethany World Prayer Center

2-31 Baker Town Hall