Governor hopeful Edwards visits Washington Parish
Published 1:54 am Saturday, September 19, 2015
The Washington Parish Democratic Party Banquet featured a special guest Thursday night, as governor candidate John Bel Edwards paid a visit to Bogalusa.
Edwards is a state representative from Amite in neighboring Tangipahoa Parish. He is one of four major candidates to replace Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican who cannot be elected again due to term limits. The other three candidates — U.S. Sen. David Vitter, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and Public Service Commission Scott Angelle — are all Republicans.
State Sen. Ben Nevers, also a Democrat, introduced Edwards to those in attendance.
“John Bel Edwards is a born leader, a military mind, and takes a task on and never looks back,” Nevers said. “This is a man who loves Louisiana.”
Edwards said that he would focus his campaign platform on improving the state’s education and health care systems.
“The most precious natural resource that we have is our children,” he said. “As your next governor, I’m going to treat teachers as the professionals they are, and treat teaching as the profession that it is.”
Edwards said that one of the “very first things” he would do as governor is to expand Medicaid coverage. Louisiana is one of 19 states that has not adopted the expansion, which covers additional citizens under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Governors in those states, including Jindal, have argued that expanding the Medicaid program could result in more expensive government over the long run.
Edwards noted that he is proud to be from eastern Louisiana, and joked that “Bogalusa had some big boys” when the Lumberjacks played Amite during Edwards’ playing days as that team’s quarterback.
He also joked about how he was able to figure out a detour to Bogalusa, when he ran into a road closure on Highway 10. He then explained that detoured route, step by step.
“I bet Bobby Jindal couldn’t find Bogalusa with both hands and two flashlights,” Edwards said, to laughs and applause.
Toward the end of his remarks, Edwards implied that his administration might be able to find a “place” for Nevers, who is unable to run again for the state Senate due to term limits.
“Bogalusa will have a voice in a John Bel Edwards administration,” he said, again to loud applause.
Prior to Edwards’ speech, the parish’s Democratic Party candidates each gave a short introduction and spoke for 30 seconds to a minute about their platforms.