State Rep. John Bel Edwards is running for a second term for the District 72 seat in the state House of Representatives.

Edwards, D-Amite, is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

“These past four years have been a challenging time for our district and our state,” Edwards said in his announcement. “However, it has been a tremendous honor to work every day to faithfully represent the people of District 72, and I look forward to four more years of service to the families in the district.”

Edwards was the first freshman representative in the House to chair a legislative committee. He is chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee and serves on several others. He also is a member of the Louisiana Rural Caucus.

Edwards stated he has been successful in bringing significant infrastructure projects to Tangipahoa, St. Helena and East Feliciana parishes.

“One of the biggest highway projects we have going in the entire state right now is the re-surfacing of Interstate 55 between Hammond and the state line,” Edwards stated. “This $100 million project will certainly make traveling on I-55 a better and safer experience and should lead to economic development and job creation in our area.”

Edwards also has fought to make sure that Lallie Kemp Hospital is adequately funded and continues to deliver high-quality medical services to area residents.

Edwards said he strenuously opposes the privatization of the state Office of Group Benefits.

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, Edwards served eight years in the Army as an infantry officer and Airborne Ranger before receiving his law degree from LSU. He was also valedictorian of his graduating class at Amite High School.

Edwards, 44, and his wife, Donna, have two daughters and one son. They are active members of St. Helena Catholic Church in Amite. He is a member of the Edwards & Associates Law Firm in Amite.

The district represents a large portion of northern Tangipahoa Parish and, because of redistricting, the district also will represent all of St. Helena Parish and the northeast portion of East Feliciana Parish. District 72 will no longer include any part of West Feliciana Parish.

Louisiana House District 65

State Rep. Clif Richardson, R-Central, recently announced his intention to seek re-election to District 65 of the state House of Representatives.

Richardson, 67, is completing his first term in office as state representative and had previously served as a justice of the peace.

Richardson said as a freshman legislator he built coalitions and relationships that will make his experience an invaluable asset in the next four year term.

“Term limits is the cause of high turnover in the Legislature this cycle and it is offering opportunities for advancement and leadership positions for the freshman class. I have the knowledge and background to use my experience and take a leadership role for District 65, for East Baton Rouge Parish and all of Louisiana,” Richardson said in an announcement statement.

Balancing the budget without new taxes while maintaining critical state services has been a particularly difficult challenge during tough economic times, Richardson said. However, he said he will continue to fight to ensure that those in need of health care and other essential services have ready access to the programs.

In addition, Richardson cited ethics and education reforms as areas the Legislature has addressed in his first term. Richardson said about $230 million was set aside for road improvements in the district, including the lane expansion on Interstate 12, widening of O’Neal Lane and Sullivan Road, as well as improvements to the Florida Boulevard and Flannery Road intersection.

Richardson said he would like to address education and economic development in the coming term.

District 65 is in East Baton Rouge Parish west of the Amite River from about Denham Road in the north to about Harrell’s Ferry Road in the south. It includes much of Central to O’Neal Place to the Sherwood Forest neighborhoods east of South Flannery Road.

White people make up 81 percent of the registered voters in the district, which has 41,840 residents.

The election is on Oct. 22.

Louisiana House District 81

Kevin Hull, of Port Vincent, announced his candidacy for state representative in District 81 of the state House of Representatives.

District 81 was newly redrawn to include much of Livingston Parish south of Interstate 12, as well as parts of Ascension, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes.

Hull, a 48-year-old Democrat, is an electrical and instrumentation technician with Honeywell.

“I am a blue-collar worker that will bring a common-sense approach to Louisiana government,” Hull said in a prepared statement. “These are difficult times in our state due to the economic downturn brought on by Wall Street bankers who never lose. Our state is faced with difficult budget choices.”

Hull has been married for 26 years to the former Sonya Bankston, a doctor of veterinary medicine. They have a son, Nathan, 17. The Hulls worship at Gray’s Creek Baptist Church.

Hull is an active outdoorsman and an outspoken advocate for hunters rights at the state and federal level. He is a member of Ducks Unlimited and the East Ascension Sportsman League.

He is a proponent of greater access to state lands and waterways for all residents.

Hull’s parents owned a small business, and he wants state government to pay more attention to helping small businesses in Louisiana already, he said.

“I understand the dedication, effort and commitment that small business owners must make every day in order to keep their doors open,” Hull said. “They are the number one creator of new jobs and Louisiana needs to do more to ensure that they have the access to the tools and resources they need to continue to grow.

“Every Louisiana citizen should have the opportunity to do the same — to get a good education and to have the ability to develop the skills and knowledge that can enable them to succeed,” Hull said. “Government needs to work for working people, not just the special interests.”

Louisiana House District 44

LAFAYETTE — State Rep. Rickey Hardy announced he is seeking re-election to the state House of Representatives in District 44.

Hardy, D-Lafayette, was elected in 2007.

According to his campaign announcement, Hardy’s platform is based on principles that he has always stood for and championed:

“Raising educational standards for our children and exposing corruption whenever it may be and whoever is involved in it,” Hardy said in the announcement.

Hardy is a lifelong resident of Lafayette, a graduate of Comeaux High School and a graduate from Southwest Paralegal College.

Hardy owns his own lawn care and house washing business in upper Lafayette.

He is married to the former Marie Celestine, and together the couple have four children and two grandchildren.

During his first term, Hardy served on the following committees: Appropriations, Education, Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and the Judiciary.

Prior to his election, Hardy was a four-term elected member of the Lafayette Parish School Board.

Louisiana Senate District 13

State Sen. Dale Erdey, R-Livingston, is seeking re-election in his district that makes up much of Livingston Parish.

Erdey announced his intentions, citing a record of proven leadership resulting in improved highway infrastructure, quality education, lower taxes, better public safety and flood control.

Erdey’s Senate District 13 includes Denham Springs, Watson, Walker, Livingston, Colyell, Holden and Albany, all of which are in Livingston Parish. The District also encompasses two precincts in Central along Hooper Road and five precincts in Tangipahoa Parish west of Interstate 55 and south of I-12 along LA Highway 22.

The primary election will be on Oct. 22.

Erdey, 56, is serving his first term as state senator. He previously served two terms as a state representative in Livingston Parish.

“Serving the people of District 13 and the state of Louisiana is a distinct honor and privilege, an awesome responsibility that I take very seriously,” Erdey stated in his announcement. “My legislative experience, conservative voting record and dedication to serving my constituency qualify me to continue representing the citizens of District 13.”

Erdey serves as vice-chairman on the Senate Committee on Transportation. He also sits on the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare, the Senate Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs and the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality.

Erdey collaborated with area legislators to secure $400 million for infrastructure projects in the Baton Rouge area.

He specifically touted widening Interstate 12 from O’Neal Lane to Walker, the I-12/Juban Road interchange, enhancements at the Walker and Denham Springs interchanges, La. 16 expansion between Denham Springs and Watson, as well as three new bridges across the Amite River.

Erdey lobbied for the state’s participation in the Bass Pro Shops development project.

Erdey served as mayor of Livingston from 1993-1997. He is owner/president of Erdey Insurance Agency.

He is married to Donna Carlisle Erdey and they have four children and six grandchildren.

Lafayette Parish sheriff

Richard “Rich” Chargois, a retired 25-year plus veteran of State Police, has announced his candidacy for Lafayette Parish sheriff.

Chargois, 51, a Republican, plans to challenge incumbent Sheriff Mike Neustrom in the Oct. 22 primary.

Chargois served as a trooper and deputy commander, heading up various departments including uniform operations and the bureau of investigations, until his retirement.

He is the son of Eric Chargois, a retired State Police Region II Major Inspector who served as chief deputy for Sheriffs Ross Brupbacher and Donald Breaux.

Rick Chargois said in a statement that he has spent his whole adult life and childhood “actively involved in law enforcement.”

Chargois said the average citizen will never need to call for help from the Sheriff’s Office, police department or fire department, “but for those individuals who find themselves involved in any life threatening situation, it is imperative that those departments operate in a timely and efficient manner.

If elected, Chargois said he would evaluate the administrative work plan of road deputies to decrease response time and increase patrol effectiveness; provide adequate training and the equipment necessary to transition from a reactionary police force to a proactive one, thereby “enabling the deputies to deter crime rather than just responding and producing reports after the crimes are committed.”

Other plans include: working diligently with other law enforcement agencies to combat the growing increase of violent crime within and around the parish; develop and implement a Cyber Crime Unit focusing on internet and child pornography criminals; expand the School Resource Officer Program; and implement a geographical information system as an investigative and informational tool to pinpoint criminal and traffic activity.

Chargois, a lifelong resident of Acadiana, is married and has five daughters and five grandchildren.

Louisiana Senate District 23

LAFAYETTE — State Rep. Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, has announced his candidacy for Senate District 23 in the Oct. 22 primary election, saying his experience in the state House of Representatives has prepared him for service in the upper chamber.

“The experience in the legislative process as state representative of District 43 and working closely with our local delegation has prepared me to serve in the Louisiana State Senate,” Cortez said in a written campaign announcement. “It has been a pleasure to serve my constituents, and I am very grateful for the opportunity given me to be their voice in Baton Rouge.”

Cortez is serving his first term as a representative.

He is seeking the Lafayette-based senate seat now held by Mike Michot, who is barred from seeking re-election because of term limits.

“I am humbled by the support shown by the local delegation and have learned during the last four years that being an effective legislator requires having the support and respect of your peers in Baton Rouge,” Cortez said in his campaign announcement.

Louisiana House District 58

Dwayne Bailey, of Donaldsonville, is running to represent District 58 of the state House of Representatives.

Bailey, a Democrat, is a lifelong resident of Donaldsonville.

He is a supervisor operator at the Shell/Motiva plant near Convent. He also is a union steward and diversity committee member.

Bailey graduated from Donaldsonville High School and Southern University. He is married to Donna Fernandez-Bailey and has two sons, Brandon and Braxton Bailey.

House District 58 covers parts of Ascension, Iberville and St. James parishes including the communities of Lutcher, Gramercy, North Vacherie, South Vacherie, St. James, Convent, Donaldsonville, parts of St. Gabriel, White Castle and Donaldsonville. The district has 41,250 residents and 64 percent of the district’s voters are black.

Bailey said working in several parishes throughout the region has helped him get to know local officials and residents of House District 58 as well as their unique cultures and needs.

Poor educational systems and a lack of achievement is a theme among district residents living on the west bank of the Mississippi River, Bailey said. Employment, health care and housing continues to be concerns for residents on both sides of the river, he said.

Bailey was appointed by Gov. Mike Foster to the “Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities.” He also served on the Donaldsonville Industrial Board and he is the Executive Director of the Donaldsonville Community Health Coalition.

Bailey has worked as regional coordinator for a 14-parish area for the state Department of Health and Hospitals.

“As your state representative I will be an inclusive figure. Everyone has value and talents. Bringing talented individuals from across the district together to solve our problematic areas of need will be my trade-mark,” Bailey wrote in a letter to constituents.

The election date is Oct. 22.