Regina Barrow, a longtime fixture in Louisiana's statehouse, has clenched a second term in the state Senate representing the north Baton Rouge district left vacant by Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome in 2015, WAFB is reporting.
Barrow will return to the legislature for her 15th consecutive year after beating out her Democratic opponent, the local activist Gary Chambers.
Chambers became widely known for speaking out in the aftermath of the 2016 officer shooting of Alton Sterling, which ignited nationwide protests. Chambers endorsed Barrow in her last campaign through his online publication The Rouge Collection, which he has credited with starting conversations about race and inequity in Baton Rouge.
Barrow has highlighted the role she played in expanding foster care services this past legislative session when she passed high-profile legislation raising the cutoff age for children in foster care from 18 to 21, which was part of the governor's legislative agenda.
A longtime ally of Broome, Barrow has also worked to stimulate economic development and bring state dollars back to Senate District 15, which encompasses a wide swath of north Baton Rouge, from the Mississippi River to Sherwood Forest to the Baton Rouge Airport. She served as a legislative aide to Broome before following her footsteps to the state House and Senate.
Barrow said she has long pointed out north Baton Rouge's lack of amenities, compared to other parts of town, and she wants to "change the narrative" for business owners who think they can't make money in the area. She pledged to continue that work during a second term, focusing on helping people who are struggling to lift themselves out of poverty.
Both she and Chambers reached common ground during their campaigns in agreeing that economic development in north Baton Rouge communities should be a legislative priority moving forward.