STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 97
Two candidates are vying for the District 97 state House seat, including incumbent state Rep. Joe Bouie, who faces a challenger making her first bid for public office.
District 97 includes much of Gentilly and a portion of the mid-city area.
JOSEPH “JOE” BOUIE, JR.
Retired Southern University at New Orleans professor and administrator Joe Bouie, the incumbent in the race, says that if re-elected to the District 97 seat of the Louisiana House of Representatives, he will continue to provide the “independent, accountable, experienced leadership” that the community he serves has come to expect.
“I am looking forward to a four-year term, where I can really work on my agenda,” Bouie says.
During his first session in the legislature, Bouie sponsored HB166 to force the return of public schools in Orleans Parish back to the Orleans Parish School Board and HB 180 to prohibit public schools from being constructed on known toxic sites. While both bills moved through committee to the House floor, they were short the number of votes needed to pass.
“We’ll get them both through in the next session,” he says, adding that local control is critical to public education. “If we are going to address quality education, we have to deal with this sham of a reform.”
Also on Bouie’s legislative radar is addressing minimum wage, equal pay for women and increasing economic opportunities for residents—all efforts he says will also help address issues such as crime and poverty.
“Eighty percent of crime is property crime,” he says. Folk commit crime because they need money, and in this city we have such a large poverty rate. Then when you talk about living wages and equal pay for women—so many of our households are led by single women—they are the working poor. When you improve their condition, families improve.
“This is my first time running for any political seat,” she says. “But if I am elected…I plan to restore hope back to the city.”
Crime, poverty and education top her list of major concerns.
“As a legislator, I will present legislation to improve the school system and give youth and young people access to quality education leading to better jobs,” she says. “I believe giving more opportunities to those at risk will greatly reduce crime.”
Prevost says she would work toward legislation that gave people with felony convictions a quicker path to having their records expunged if they have not re-offended in 10 years.
STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 99
Three are seeking to become the next representative of state House District 99, which is being vacated by current Rep. Wesley Bishop as he makes a run for the state Senate.
District 99 includes the 9th Ward and a portion of New Orleans East.
Ray Crawford, 58, is local pastor, who says his work in the community prepares him to serve as the District 99 representative in the state House. A former health specialist for the Department of Health & Hospitals Office of Public Health, he is the pastor and founder of Circle of Blessing Church.
“I am in touch with the people and the community,” says Crawford. “One thing about a pastor is that we move with a lot of compassion concerning our people. I am not focused on a political career.”
At the top of Crawford’s platform is guiding more recovery efforts in the district.
“Since Katrina, nothing has happened in our district. We need to address commercial blight and we need more residents to return.”
Crawford says he would support the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Crime is also a major issue that will command his attention, he says.
“I will assist in finding funding to invest crime prevention and increase the size of NOPD to ensure that every neighborhood in my district and in this great city is a safe and prosperous place to live, work, visit and raise a family.”
An attorney by training, Jimmy Harris, 41, describes himself as a “proud son” of District 99. He is the director of special projects for Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District. His past jobs in the public arena include director of state relations for the city of New Orleans, legislative director for state House District 101 as well as a stint in the state Attorney General’s Office working in the area of legislative affairs.
Those experiences make him especially qualified for the post he seeks, he says.
“In all of those capacities, my job entailed me working with the legislative branch,” Harris says. “I was already doing this work. I have the relationships. I’ve been working with the legislature since 2002.”
Among his top priorities are criminal justice reform, education and workforce and economic development.
Harris says he would use of Tax Increment Financing incentives or TIFs to urge developers and businesses to come to the district.
“We have too many parcels of land, too much commercial land that is underutilized (in New Orleans East and the 9th Ward),” he says. “Granting that tax money can get businesses to come.”
As for crime, Harris says he would work to find additional funding for the police department, the DA’s, and public defender’s offices while also addressing long-term solutions though efforts that address poverty, education, economic opportunity and mental health services.
“Don’t be fooled by my age,” Prevost says. “I want to make a difference. I want to change things that haven’t been changed.”
Crime, poverty and education top her list of major concerns.
“I believe the solutions to these issues tie into each other, starting with the lack of educational opportunities for the at-risk youth and young adults in New Orleans.
In the area of education, Prevost thinks she can save the state money by pushing for the deletion of the TOPs scholarship program. It’s a program that costs the state more than $100 million annually, she says, but one that she doesn’t believe is administered fairly or serves the students that would benefit most.
STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Four candidates are vying to fill the seat now held by state Rep. Austin Badon, who is barred by term limits. District 100 includes much of New Orleans East and is roughly bound by Crowder Boulevard, Chef Menteur Highway, Paris Road and Michoud Boulevard, and Hayne Boulevard.
“I know I can hit the ground running and be a strong and mature voice,” Bagneris says, adding that the top three issues the district faces are crime, education and economic development.
Bagneris is a graduate of Joseph B. Clark High School and attended Southern University at New Orleans. He is a member of the McKendall Estates Homeowners’ Association and a former chairman of the board of the Tremé Community Improvement Association.
When it comes to fighting crime, Bagneris says he would work on efforts to maximize the use of other agencies, such as having state police patrol state highways in the district to free NOPD’s resources for more community policing and crime prevention work.
As for economic development, Bagneris says he plans to work hard to bring more businesses to New Orleans East.
“There are 75,000 households in New Orleans East. It is the largest tax base in the city of New Orleans. We need fine dining, high-end retail, and family-oriented entertainment,” says the candidate.
As for education, Bagneris says it’s time for successful schools to return to the Orleans Parish School Board and to focus on quality educational opportunities in every area of the city.
“We have a problem when lil’ Johnny is standing at a bus stop at 5:30 in the morning and passing up a “D” school to go to a “C” school,” he says. “And good schools need to come back to the school board. Rep. Bouie has a good bill. I know he is going to come back with it; and I am all for it.”
“People know me,” Jones says. “I am no stranger to this. I am on the ground, in the community. If you are looking for someone to go to Baton Rouge to go along to get along, I am not that guy. I am going to fight every day for working people.”
Jones, 49, serves as a member of the Louisiana Democratic State Central Committee, the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee, and as chairperson of the District E Caucus of OPDEC.
The top three issues facing the city, region and state are public safety, living wages and equal pay for women, Jones says, adding that he would support legislation to raise minimum wage and ensure equal pay for women in the workforce across Louisiana.
As for public safety, Jones says he would use his position as an elected official to push for any measures that provided resources for the hiring, training and retention of more police officers.
Economic development, job development and training are also key points in addressing public safety, he says.
As for the city’s affordable housing crisis, Jones says he hopes to put his efforts behind programs that encourage and make it feasible for more low- to moderate-income families to purchase their own homes.
A 19-year veteran educator that has lived in District 100 for more than 12 years, Shawn Lockett, 44, says he is vested in community.
“I am raising my family here. I want this district to thrive. We deserve that,” says Lockett, who is a graduate of Southern University at New Orleans.
His priorities if elected would include education, economic revitalization and the expansion of the Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, he says.
“The expansion may provide care or insurance for over 200,000 low-income adults in our state,” he says. “Not only would this afford necessary health care to those in need, but it will likely increase the number of health-related jobs in our state.
Among the areas in education Lockett says he plans to examine is the state’s voucher system.
“I intend to examine the funding for and effectiveness of the voucher system to determine whether funding would be better spent on improving the public education system,” he says, adding that he also supports local control of public education via the Orleans Parish School Board.
Offering tax incentives for more businesses to open in the district is also a part of his economic development platform, which also includes support for the adoption of a state minimum wage and equal pay for women.
As for the housing crisis, Lockett says “we are going to have to improve programs that get people into their own homes, such as tax breaks for people who want to return and low-interest rate loans
ALICIA PLUMMER CLIVENS
With a background as a public health nurse, a real estate broker, political consultant, business consultant and community leader, Alicia Plummer Clivens’ work throughout New Orleans has been extensive.
She is running for the state House of Representatives District 100 seat she says because she doesn’t see many other elected officials doing “the people’s job”.
As she sees it, the job of a state legislator is to “go to Baton Rouge, earn respect and bring meat home.”
Working with her colleagues to address the budget crisis that the state is facing would be one of her first priorities if elected, Clivens says.
“We need to do a line item, forensic audit, she says. “What money is there and where is it going. I know there is a lot of FEMA money still sitting there, also the BP money. And where’s the gambling money? Bring it to the districts where it belongs.”
When it comes to public education, Clivens says she is in favor of one form of governance for local schools through the elected Orleans Parish School Board and against vouchers.
“We need to take that money and put it back in to public education.”
When it comes to addressing the affordable housing crisis, Clivens says both the Housing Authority of New Orleans and its Housing and Urban Development Department need to get involved in addressing the challenges, while also saying that saturating certain communities with Section 8 rentals is not the best answer either.
“It’s about what’s fair,” she says, adding that developers that use federal tax credits to build what are supposed to be mixed-income apartment communities should be held accountable for ensuring that they adhere to their contractual obligations to rent a certain percentage of their units at affordable rates to residents that qualify.
Whether or not she goes to Baton Rouge, Clivens says her work on behalf of her community and neighbors will not end.
“I am going to do what I have always done,” she says. “I can’t help it. I am a part of a community and when my community suffers, I suffer. And I am not going to take that lying down. It’s just not in me.”
STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
A crowded field of six are seeking to become the next representative for state House District 102, which is being vacated by Dr. David Heitmeier, who decided against seeking another term.
District 102 includes most of Algiers.
GARY CARTER, JR.
The Democrat says he is a perfect example of how education and opportunity can improve lives.
“If more kids like me get quality education, it can drastically improve quality of life,” Carter says. “If the state has a silver bullet, it’s education.”
To that end, Carter says his platform includes measures to address and improve early childhood education, workforce development and economic development.
“I believe we must invest heavily in early education and create good jobs in order to break the long-term cycles of crime and poverty in our city and state.”
Carter says workforce development has to focus on programs and training opportunities to help young people gain the skills they need to make good lives for themselves and avoid the criminal justice system.
He also says if elected, he will support equal pay for women and establishing a living wage for the Louisiana’s workers. Part of that issue is addressed, Carter says, by the creation of “good quality jobs”, the sort that pays wages that truly help families meet their needs.
“I am running to serve. I am running to get things done,” Carter says.
“We can make a difference and have a better quality of life if we work together,” says Cutno, who adds that he will sponsor legislation to establish a state minimum wage of $15 an hour if elected.
“The movement is strong right now,” he says. “This is a good time to push for it. We must support living wages and unionizing to support working women. People deserve a better quality of life.”
Cutno, who works in the local film industry, says he will also work to put more police officers on the street and to bring immediate investments to meet the infrastructure needs of the district.
He also supports the immediate expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The top issues facing the district as he sees it are crime, transportation, education and funding.
“New Orleans has issues, and it needs people who are going to work,” he says. “I get up early and I work late. I want to go and do the right thing so that our schools are better, our neighborhoods are better and our roads are better.”
As it relates to crime, Gallagher says the state must address the underlying issues that contribute to escalating crime—poor education and blight.
“You have to put money into that,” he says. “It takes time. You can’t turn around two years later and say there is no improvement.”
When it comes to addressing blight, the candidate says he is in favor of legislation that reduces the rights of property owners that are irresponsible in taking care of their property.
KENNETH P. GARRETT, SR.
“We have a lot of work to do,” he says. “We can do much better than we have been doing.” And he says he is wants to take his experience to the legislature to help get things done.
Garrett is a member of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee and served as chairman of the rules and bylaws committee of the Louisiana Democratic Party from 2008-2102
The first order of business for state government will be balancing the budget, Garrett says.
Criminal justice reform and improvements in public education are also critical to attracting new economic development to the state, region and city, he says, adding that he is in support of the return of local public schools to the Orleans Parish School Board.
“We made those people accountable,” he says, adding that something must be done about the students up in the early morning hours to travel to school across town. “Children are waking up at 4:30 in the morning to wait for a bus at 5:30 in the morning. By the time they get home its 6:30 in the evening. They are so tired, they are not learning.”
Garrett says that he is in favor of school vouchers.
“I work every day to obtain results for my clients,” he says. “I will bring that same zeal to the Louisiana House of Representatives.”
Pressing issues facing the state include the budget, the incarceration rate and infrastructure, the candidate says.
One step in addressing the budget crisis, says Ibert, a Democrat, is to examine the cost-benefit of the various tax breaks and incentives the state has extended.
“We must review our current tax code and eliminate tax incentives that are no longer needed or no longer accomplishing public policy goals.”
The candidate says he will also push for reforms in the criminal justice system if elected.
“Louisiana spends more money on incarceration and locks up more people than any other state,” he says. “Our high incarceration rate is the result of the misapplication of our habitual offender law by district attorneys and the removal of discretion from elected judges. I would attempt to reduce or cap the low-end penalties of the habitual offender law and remove the 20-year mandatory sentence for fourth offense simple drug possession.”
“As vice president and finance chair of the OPSB, my skills helped us lead the district back from the brink and to its first AAA bond rating in history. Now our state government needs that kind of help. Our budget priorities are upside down and we suffer huge cuts to education and healthcare.”
Moran, a Democrat, says the key issues facing residents of the district are crime, economic development and infrastructure.
“They are all related,” she says. “While we need more and better trained police officers, we will never arrest our way out of a crime problem. We have to divert our young people before bad decisions and poor choices spiral out of control. Education and good jobs are the best crime fighting tools we have, and they must be priorities. But businesses cannot grow, and people do not want to live where the infrastructure is in ruins.”
Additionally, Moran says she supports the return of public schools to the Orleans Parish School Board, establishment of a living wage, equal pay laws and the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
“Schools have to go back. Period. I believe in the elected body,” she says. “I do not hesitate to say that.”