RUNOFF RUNDOWN: Senate District 16

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BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — The quest for Senate District 16 comes down to two: Republican state Rep. Franklin Foil, who says 12 years in the state House would ease his transition into the upper chamber; and Democrat Beverly Brooks Thompson, a fundraising consultant who claims the Louisiana State Capitol hungers for new voices. asked both candidates which issues lead their lists.

Foil: “My top priority has always been helping the special needs community. I bring a bill every year to do something to help people with disabilities, and I want to continue.”

Thompson: “I believe the greatest challenge facing our state is poverty, and the only proven cure to poverty is education — and for the kids coming up through the system, they need better.”

In a district representing much of the LSU campus, the hopefuls are also debating which college students should get tuition aid through TOPS; the state-run initiative currently awards students on merit.

“The question is, how much can we afford?” Foil said. “We want to afford it for the best and brightest.”

“There’s a blend of financial need and merit that needs to be a part of that,” Thompson said.

Both Foil and Thompson agree that Louisiana needs a constitutional convention to revise where legislators can dedicate and spend state dollars.

“I heard somebody say recently that the table of contents for the [state] constitution is actually longer than the constitution itself because of all the amendments,” Thompson said. “That needs to stop.”

“If you want real fiscal reform, a lot of the tax policies are in the constitution, so rather than try to piecemeal changes, you need to come up with a master plan, which a convention would allow you to do.”

And after an open primary that saw just a four-vote split between second and third place, the two runoff contenders also share this idea:

“It’s really true when they say every vote counts,” Foil said.

“Every away ballot counts, every absentee ballot counts,” Thompson said. “Every person who walks in and early votes counts.”

Early voting runs through Saturday, Nov. 9. Election Day is Saturday, Nov. 16.

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