BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) –  The election to decide Louisiana’s governor isn’t for another year. But the Public Affairs Research Council hosted a forum to give voters a look at all seven candidates.

The Crowne Plaza in the Capital Area had a packed house for a gubernatorial forum with Louisiana’s seven major candidates.

The five Republicans running are Attorney General Jeff Landry, State Senator Sharon Hewitt, State Treasurer John Schroder, State Representative Richard Nelson, and former LABI leader Stephen Waguespack. Running as an independent is Lake Charles Attorney Hunter Lundy and Democrat Shawn Wilson, who is the former DOTD Secretary.

Candidates answered nine different questions about various topics like Medicaid expansion, Louisiana’s budget, and education and their plans to keep people in the state and make it a place people want to live.

“There’s still 4.2, 4.3 million people that are still here. We’ve got to focus on those that are here. We will bring them back. We will bring businesses back, and we will grow an economy that will allow them to stay here,” explained Wilson.

Waguespack followed by saying, “We have to have high schools become launch points for every single kid, no matter what challenges or opportunities they face.”

Attorney Lundy disagreed saying, “We’re the number one poverty state in the nation. And so you wonder why.” But Attorney General believes crime is the answer, “We can’t even keep people safe in this state.”

There was a rapid-fire round of questions for all candidates including their stance on renewing the state sales tax when it expires.

“There may be some adjustments, but we’re not really good about forecasting our revenue. So I think we sit tight and we take a look at where we are in a couple of years,” said Hewitt.

“I think it’s an opportunity to do subsidy of wholesale tax reform.” State Treasurer says with his experience he will be able to, “balanced budget period,” said Nelson.

“I don’t think this is the time for us to be able to make drastic changes like eliminating that,” said Wilson.