Ethan Ashley 

Ethan Ashley says he’s running to improve the lives of young people and families, As the youngest elected official in Louisiana, Ashley is in his third year of service on the Orleans Parish School Board.

He says his background in policy, law, and drafting legislation makes him the best choice to represent District 97. If elected, Ashley says his priorities will focus on strengthening the economy to interrupt generational poverty, working to pass a livable wage, fixing the failing infrastructure in the city, reforming the criminal justice system, and providing educational opportunities for District 97 youth.

Ashley earned both his undergraduate degree and law degree from Howard University. He is the National State and Local Advocacy Director for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Ashley worked on the Hill for Congresswoman Maxine Waters, at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the Urban League of Louisiana, and for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs. 

He serves as program chair of the NORD Commission. He is a board member of the Boy Scouts of America Southeast Louisiana Council, the National Juvenile Justice Network and the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute.

Ashley is co-owner of JE Howard Ventures, a community development investment company; and he is the owner of Ethan Charles Designs, a company that addresses social issues through fashion, philanthropy and content.  

Eugene Green Jr. 

Eugene Green says what sets him apart from other candidates in the race for District 97 is his decades of experience in economic development—experience that will help him get needed resources out of Baton Rouge to improve the quality of life in the city of New Orleans. 

In addition to leading the city’s economic development efforts under former Mayor Marc H. Morial, Green was chief of staff to former Congressman William Jefferson.

If elected to represent District 97 in the state House, Green says he will work to upgrade the city’s flood control and sewer systems, fund more street repairs, reduce blight, control property tax assessments, increase early childhood education funding, support small businesses supports, equal pay and a living wage.

In his role as founder and president of Nationwide Real Estate Corporation for the past 32 years, Green says he supports small businesses by purchasing services and goods from other small business owners. If elected, Green will work to expand the state’s Hudson Initiative, to incubate minority owned and women-owned businesses. 

As chairman of Action Empowerment, Inc., which is spearheading the Martinez School Redevelopment project, Green is already working with Toshiba and the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office to create a training program to teach formerly incarcerated persons how to build and repair office equipment.

Green  is a member of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee, a board member of the Industrial Development Board, the chairman of the New Orleans Council on Aging, and Commissioner on the Non-Flood Protection Asset Management Authority. 

His community service work includes stints as vice-president, St. Augustine High School Alumni Association, a mentor with the Silverback Society, and board member for the Boy Scouts of America. 

He is past president of the New Orleans Regional Business Park. He also served on the City of New Orleans Planning Commission. A St. Augustine High School graduate, Green earned an economics degree at Harvard University and a master’s in business administration from Tulane University. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. 

Durrell L. Laurent

Durrell L. Laurent says he has spent the last six months asking constituents in District 97 about their needs. And if elected, he says his top priorities for District 97 will include repairing infrastructure, legislating a plan for fairer tax assessments, and proposing a legislative remedy for reducing juvenile crime. 

Laurent wants voters to know that he has a proven track record for standing up for his community. He helped form his neighborhood association and joined the board of a local charter school system to improve educational opportunities for youth. 

If elected, Laurent would propose legislation to secure a larger share of revenue from state-owned entities, such as the Mercedes Benz Superdome and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center so that New Orleans can adequately  address the city’s infrastructure needs. 

Laurent also favors an increase in the homestead exemption. He also supports a study of how property tax assessments are made and legislation to create a uniform statewide tax assessment process. 

When it comes to reducing juvenile crime, he says he would seek partnerships between the local trade unions and the schools, so that high school graduates will leave with a marketable skill or trade, an effort he believes will help reduce crime. 

Laurent owns the Durrell Laurent & Associates Insurance Agency, which provides healthcare plans to under-served senior citizens and the disabled. He is president of the Einstein Charter Schools Board in New Orleans East, president of the Edgewood Heights Neighborhood Association, and an elected member of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee.  

Laurent has served as a financial analyst for both the United States Department of Defense and Avondale Shipyard. He is former board member of the Young Democrats of New Orleans, former finance director for the New Leaders Council-Louisiana, and a former board member of the St. Augustine High School Young Alumni Association. A graduate of St. Augustine High School, he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas Southern University and attended Loyola University New Orleans’ Institute of Politics. 

Matthew Willard

If elected to represent District 97, Matthew Willard says he will secure revenue to fix the district’s crumbling infrastructure, advocate for mental health and addiction disorder services, fight for a living wage, seek solutions to stop rising property tax assessments, prioritize early childcare and education funding, fight for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and promote small business initiatives.

Willard says the cost of living in New Orleans is the highest in the state and the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is causing residents to struggle for basic survival. 

Some adults have to work two or three jobs to survive; and they are not available to help their children with homework, take them to extracurricular activities, or spend quality time, Willard says.

If elected, Willard says he will work to secure resources to conduct an independent audit of the city’s infrastructure and then get the much needed funding from the state for repairs. 

He says New Orleans is the economic engine for the state and adds that he is concerned that if infrastructure repairs are not made, businesses will leave or not consider locating here.

City leaders should not have to beg for a fair share of the revenue that New Orleans’ culture generates for the city and state, he says.

Willard is a senior manager with Fluence Analytics, a New Orleans-based tech startup. He is an elected member of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee, the president of the Seabrook Neighborhood Association, a board member of the Seabrook Improvement and Security District, a member of the New Orleans Coalition, and a former member of the Second Responders Committee, a support organization for injured first responders. 

Willard earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of New Orleans and is a graduate of Jesuit High School.

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