STATE SENATE DISTRICT 4
The state Senate District 4 seat, now filled by term-limited Sen. Edwin Murray, has attracted three candidates to the race.
District 4 is comprised of portions of New Orleans East, the Lakeview area, some sections of Gentilly, as well as neighborhoods in the 7th Ward and the Treme-Lafitte area.
Wesley Bishop, 47 currently serves in the state House representing District 99. He is running to for the senate seat because he sees it as a way to do “a whole lot more for a whole lot more people,” he says.
Bishop is an assistant criminal justice professor and the associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern University at New Orleans.
Crime, education and economic development will top his platform if elected by the people of District 4.
He says he will push for policy designed to offer treatment instead of ordering jail time for individuals arrested for low-level drug felonies so that space in prisons can be open for repeat and violent offenders, but adds that we “just can’t arrest our way out of crime. Without opportunity or options, there will those who turn to crime to survive.
“That’s what you see a lot of young people doing now. Whether it’s right or wrong, legitimate or illegitimate–folks are not going to starve. That’s why we have to also address education and economic development.”
To that end, Bishop says he will continue to work toward increasing funding for higher education as well as elementary and secondary education by working on the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP), the formula used to determine the cost to educate public school students in grades K-12..
Bishop also says the $7 billion being used to provide tax credits, rebates and exemptions must be examined and assessed so that more money can be funneled to job training/education and workforce development.
A Baton Rouge native, Erich Caulfield, 40, is founder and president of the Caulfield Consulting Group. His experiences include New Orleans team leaders of the White House Strong Communities Initiative, a White House Fellow for the White House Domestic Policy Council, and chief policy advisor for former mayor of New Jersey Cory Booker.
Caulfield says he is running for the District 4 senate seat because he sees it as a way to “help the most people in the most meaningful way and to do some good in areas that he cares about for the people in his community.”
If elected, he hopes to make inroads in the areas of criminal justice reform, equal pay for women, healthcare access.
“Louisiana has the largest pay disparity anywhere in the country,” Caulfield says. “Equal pay for women is not just a gender issues. It’s a family issue.
In the area of criminal justice, the candidate says his efforts will focus on sentencing reform and support for re-entry programs through workforce training for returning citizens.
“We have to get them back involved,” Caulfield says. “If we don’t, we are robbing our society, state and city of talented people who want to work.”
Caulfield also says he supports the return of local schools to the Orleans Parish School Board.
“In my mind, they are coming back. We have to make certain that the system they are coming into is ready to handle it.”
If elected, Caulfield says he will work to tackle the state’s budget crisis by first examining the state’s tax incentive structure.
“What are the ones that are working? Which ones aren’t? That study will tell us what the right answer is; and that’s the first step,” he says.
Repeated attempts to reach the candidate were unsuccessful.
STATE SENATE DISTRICT 7
Five are vying for the District 7 state Senate seat being vacated by Sen. David Heitmeier, who has chosen not to seek re-election.
District 7 is comprised of areas of Orleans, Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes, including communities in Algiers, Belle Chasse, Terrytown, Gretna and Harvey.
JEFFERY “JEFF” ARNOLD
Jeff Arnold says he considers himself “fiscally conservative, but socially compassionate” as a lawmaker. And while he could not make a run for his former state House seat 102 because of term limits, he says he “thinks I am good at what I do.”
Arnold also serves as chairman of the Algiers
Development District and on the board of governors for Oschner Hospital.
As the state representative for the 102nd district, Arnold says he introduced legislation that eliminated the ad valorem tax on motor vehicles in Orleans Parish and helped secure funding for roadway and drainage projects along General DeGaulle and other Algiers streets.
If elected to the state Senate, Arnold says crime and criminal justice issues would top his list of issues.
“We need to address and assist the city of New Orleans with the current crime problem,” he says. “Not addressing this issue will destroy the culture, economy and spirit of New Orleans.”
The candidate says he also sees the need to examine how the public defender’s office is funded, believing that inadequate resources there leads to higher incarceration rates. More money must also be put into re-entry programs, he says.
“In order to stem the tide of recidivism, we must give convicts hope that if they straighten out, earn employable certifications and become productive citizens, there is life after prison.
A former New Orleans city councilman and member of the state House of Representatives, Troy Carter says he has a lot to offer and that he sees a tremendous need in the senate district he seeks to represent as well as the city and state.
“I understand the process,” he says. “And I have a passion for people and policy. This is real work and I take it very seriously.”
Carter is a managing partner in a policy and management consultant firm, but says that his service to his community continued even after he left public office.
If elected to the Senate, balancing the budget would be a priority, he says, adding that he will fight against the cuts that have historically been made to higher education and healthcare by fighting for items in the budget that are constitutionally protected from cuts to be stripped of those safeguards.
“Only cutting from higher education and healthcare is a cop-out, and it’s an irresponsible way to govern. We have to strip all of those dedications away and distribute the cuts and the savings. We have to modify and re-prioritize. It’s a lot of work; but that’s what you are elected for.”
Carter says he supports the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, as well as doing whatever it takes to provide a “good, strong, public education system”, including adding more money to the minimum foundation formula. He says he not as concerned by what entity oversees public education Orleans Parish, but understands that many parents, residents and taxpayers feel disenfranchised under the current system.
“If you said (schools) were going to go back, they have to go back. You got to keep your word,” Carter says. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t adopt policy that works. We have to come together, pick the best of both sides and rebuild. That’s leadership.”
Repeated attempts to reach the candidate were unsuccessful.
ROY A. GLAPION
Civil engineer, business owner, and community leader, Roy Glapion says he is an “honest, hardworking, independent candidate with his own voice” whose relationships extend beyond the senatorial district he hopes to serve.
It’s a fact he believes will only help him meet the needs of his constituents if elected to represent the people of the 7th District.
“As a business owner and civil engineer who has provided services in multiple parishes including District 7 and throughout Louisiana, I have the ability to build coalitions and have a proven track record of success.
Glapion has served as chairman of the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and chairman of the United Negro College Fund of Louisiana. He has also served on the boards of the New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce, the Business Council of Greater New Orleans and the Bureau of Governmental Research.
“I have been a public servant without being an elected official,” the candidate says.
If elected to the state Senate, education, crime and healthcare would be among his chief areas of concern.
In each of these areas, Glapion says he is committed to examining all angles of the issues and then doing what best serves the community. Specifically as it relates to crime, he favors providing local governments with the support they need to combat it while also creating policies that reduce recidivism and curtail crime on the front-end, such as increased education and economic opportunities and restoring mental health services.
Glapion says he supports the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.