Election Day is just over two weeks away, and Thursday night the race for the governor’s office continued with the second statewide debate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Incumbent John Bel Edwards once again touted his work in turning a state deficit into a surplus, securing teacher pay raises and investing in state infrastucture.
John Bel Edwards: “Our state is measurably, demonstrably, much better off than four years ago. And that is exactly why the people of Louisiana should and will return me to office.”
Congressman Ralph Abraham defended his platforms, including being in favor of the death penalty and calling for action to combat the opioid crisis.
Ralph Abraham: “The addiction rate and the death rate is horrific. Physicians play a vital role as far as monitoring those patients. And making them accountable for the drugs that they take.”
Meanwhile, Baton Rouge businessmen Eddie Rispone reinforced his role as the political outsider looking to lead the state in a different direction.
Eddie Rispone: “Someone that’s not behold to special interests. That’s what I am, and I’m the only one. I want to turn this state around. Someone that’s not a career politician to move our state forward. They’ve had their opportunities on both sides of the isle. I’m going to make sure I move our state forward.”
Covering a range of topics from a constitutional convention to early childhood education, one area that drew sharp opinions was the current state of jobs in Louisiana.
Eddie Rispone: “I know how to create jobs. I’ve been doing that for 40 years. We started my business with three people in my living and today we employ almost 4,000 families.”
John Bel Edwards: “We have been successful in landing 170 major economic development project wins with more than 41 billion dollars of capital investment and 34,000 jobs yes, created.”
Thursday’s debate also included candidate-to-candidate questions.
John Bel Edwards: “Given your support of Bobby Jindal and his failed policies, how can the people of Louisiana trust you?”
Eddie Rispone: “All I’m telling you is that Bobby Jindal is not running for Governor, I’m running for Governor. I’m an outsider. I’m a conservative.”
Ralph Abraham: “I’m the most conservative congressman you’ll ever see. You know that the target that we should be working on is the one standing to your left.”
Louisiana Public Broadcasting and the Council for a Better Louisiana hosted Thursday night’s debate. A third gubernatorial debate is scheduled for October 9th.