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State Sen. Troy Carter is photographed in his office fin New Orleans, La. Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. Carter is running for Louisiana's 2nd Congressional District seat which was vacated by Cedric Richmond after he left to be part of President Joe Biden's administration.

Voters in the largely Democratic 2nd Congressional District, which stretches from New Orleans and Jefferson Parish up the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge, have the choice of 15 candidates to replace Cedric Richmond, who took a job in the Biden White House. The best-known among them are a pair of New Orleans state senators who’ve each spent several decades in public life.

We respect Karen Carter Peterson’s record on education. Peterson has been a longstanding advocate for improving New Orleans public schools even when the politics were risky. Back before Hurricane Katrina, she helped set the stage for the state takeover of failing schools; years later and with notable improvement on the books, she brokered the bill to return the charter-based system to local control.

But our choice in the March 20 primary, for which early voting runs Saturday until March 13, is Troy Carter, who promises to be a moderate and collaborative member of Congress.

Carter served in the state House and New Orleans City Council in the 1990s and early 2000s, and reentered politics as a state senator in 2015. He quickly became a player in Baton Rouge, and currently serves as the Senate’s Democratic caucus chair. One successful bill he touts requires health insurers to cover reconstructive surgery for patients at high risk of breast cancer who have prophylactic mastectomies.

While he backs President Joe Biden’s agenda on everything from wage increases to reducing reliance on fossil fuels, Carter suggested he’d approach legislation in Congress with sensitivity to local concerns and a willingness to compromise.

See who qualified to run for Cedric Richmond, Luke Letlow's congressional seats

He believes the federal minimum wage should be $15 an hour, but said he’s open to adjustments to accommodate small businesses in lower cost states such as Louisiana, where the increased labor costs could be prohibitive.

On health care, he backs Biden’s preference for creating a public option alongside private, employer-sponsored insurance rather than shifting to a single-payer system.

Carter also said he agrees with Gov. John Bel Edwards, who wants Biden to reconsider his temporary moratorium on new oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico. While he respects the president’s ambitious environmental goals, he said that “we have to recognize the significance of oil and gas in the state of Louisiana, what it means to our world economy, what it means to our strategic resources. There are a lot of moving parts, and while we should definitely aspire to lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, we should do so in a very respectful and timely manner.”

The next representative from the 2nd District will likely fill Richmond’s shoes as the most liberal member of Louisiana’s generally conservative delegation, and we certainly expect that person to champion the voters’ preferences. But a key to Richmond’s effectiveness was his ability to work well with his Republican colleagues on issues that matter most to our state.

We think Troy Carter could play that vital role.