Candidates deserve a closer look

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You’ve got choices to make. And they’re some pretty big ones.

One of the most pivotal non-presidential, non-gubernatorial and non-parish presidential elections in southeast Louisiana history will take place next month.

The direction and future of the Bayou Region will be shaped one way or another depending on who you choose to represent our area both in Washington, D.C., as well as closer to home.

On a local level, you have several judgeships, councilman seats, school board seats and justice of the peace seats, among other seats, to elect, and representing us on a more national scale, the bayou region is in the middle of hotly-contested U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representative battles.

With all due respect to those vying for local seats who will surely do a fantastic job making the bayou region proud, it’s those who we will send to our nation’s capital who will have the most say on the big issues that will affect us most.

And rest assured that these candidates have your interests at heart.

In the race for the Sixth Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, vacated by Bill Cassidy, a majority of the candidates have accepted both opportunities to speak in Thibodaux in the past month and a half – including Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge), Paul Dietzel II (R-Baton Rouge), Edwin Edwards (D-Gonzales), Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge), Trey Thomas (D-Baton Rouge) and Lenar Whitney (R-Houma).

Bob Bell (R-Baton Rouge), Rufus Holt Craig Jr. (Libertarian-Baton Rouge), Cassie Felder (R-Baton Rouge), Richard Lieberman (D-LaPlace), Craig McCulloch (R-Ethel) and Peter Williams (D-Lettsworth) chose to accept one of the two invitations to speak in Thibodaux.

As you can see, all but one of those candidates hails from the northern portion of the gerrymandered district, an area in which roughly 70 percent of the its population resides. That could allow these candidates to ignore the southern area and still pick up enough votes to be elected.

However, that has not happened.

In the other races to send someone to D.C., all four of the candidates vying for the 1st Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives accepted their invitation to speak in Thibodaux. Those candidates include Lee A. Dugas (D-Kenner), Vinny Mendoza (D-Ponchatoula), Jeff Sanford (Libertarian-Baton Rouge) and incumbent Steve Scalise (R-Jefferson).

On the other hand, candidates looking to become U.S. senator have visited this area much more infrequently, including frontrunners Bill Cassidy (R-Baton Rouge) and incumbent Mary Landrieu (D-New Orleans) declining both invitations to Thibodaux.

Among this group, only Rob Maness (R-Madisonville) has appeared in Thibodaux twice. Thomas Clements (R-Lafayette), Brannon Lee McMorris (Libertarian-Denham Springs) and William Waymire Jr. (D-Gonzales) accepted one invitation to Thibodaux.

However, the point remains that individuals seeking public office on a national landscape aren’t forgetting the bayou region. Therefore, you shouldn’t forget about them when Nov. 4 comes along.

And with early voting lasting seven days over eight calendar days later this month (Oct. 28-21 except Oct. 26), you don’t have an excuse if you foresee yourself being unavailable on the first Tuesday in November.

No LSU-Alabama game, as it seems to be an Election Day tradition in recent years, to keep you away from the polls this time around. And no, the New Orleans Pelicans’ home tilt versus the Charlotte Hornets isn’t an excuse, either.

These candidates all have their own views and opinions, so please do you your due diligence to decide who you truly, honestly, and most importantly, knowledgably, believe is best to lead our area into the future.

Check out their various campaign platforms online. The Google search shouldn’t take you too long, and hopefully you’ll give each candidate the time he or she deserves.

That’s because you deserve to choose the right people to represent you in Washington, D.C.

So make it happen.