Nine questions: House District 98 candidates on property taxes, gun control, prescription drug prices, auto insurance rates and more

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House 98 candidates Aimee Adatto Freeman, Kea Sherman, Carlos Zervigon, Max Chiz, Ravi Sangisetty and Marion “Penny” Freistadt at a Sept. 19 meeting of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee. (Danae Columbus, Uptown Messenger)

After the Carrollton Area Network candidates forum on Sept. 23, audience members submitted their own questions for the six candidates — Max Chiz, Aimee Adatto Freeman, Marion “Penny” Freistadt, Ravi Sangisetty, Kea Sherman and Carlos Zervigon — running for House District 98.

The Carrollton Area Network sent these questions to the candidates:

1. To what degree, if any, do you support requiring all nonprofits to pay property taxes?
2. What would you do to control automatic weapons and ammunition?
3. What would you do to lower prescription drug prices?
4. One in five people live in poverty, and one in three children live in poverty. What are your plans to lift children out of poverty?
5. Have you ever contributed to a Republican candidate? If so how much? Why? How do you reconcile this while claiming to be Democrat?
6. We have some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. The poorest among us, regardless of driving record, pay the highest rates, and many people need their cars to work but don’t earn enough to afford insurance. What will you do to help poor people with good driving records get affordable rates, aside from focusing on changes in the court system?
7. To male candidates: As a Democrat, seeing that there are few women in the legislature at a time when the public is demanding more female representation, how do you justify running against very qualified female candidates?
8. Do you support the renewable portfolio standard and/or net metering? Do you support the renewable energy proposal (100% renewable NOLA) that the City Council will be voting on this December?
9. What will you do to limit or prevent large trucks from using narrow residential streets?

Below are the candidates’ responses to the questions.

1. To what degree, if any, do you support requiring all nonprofits to pay property taxes?

Max Chiz: I believe that decisions regarding property tax exemptions should be made at the local level and not in Baton Rouge. I will work to end preemption laws and restore local control to the citizens of New Orleans.
I will also fight to ensure that we change the formula used to compute our property taxes so that it is fair and reduces the need to make these kinds of individualized determinations as far as possible. We ended up in this situation because our current formula often produces unfair results and leaves people unable to pay their taxes.
Aimee Freeman: A large portion of properties in Orleans Parish are off the tax rolls, because they are designated as nonprofits. It is reasonable that these organizations pay a fair share for use of city services and infrastructure. Additional revenues could be used to fix drainage and streets, which is urgently needed.
Ravi Sangisetty: I support requiring large nonprofits to pay at least some property taxes. We have to evaluate that 40% of our land in New Orleans is not taxed and consider how they can contribute to our drainage and infrastructure. The Industrial Tax Exemption Program is overreaching and needs to be evaluated as well.
Kea Sherman: I believe that every entity that owns property in the city should contribute to city services in some fashion, in particular to our drainage fees, whether this is done by a parcel fee or some modification in state law regarding exemptions for non-profits. This would require some sort of classification by use of various properties and non-profits.
Carolos Zervigon: In principle, when nonprofits are engaged in ancillary business activities in direct competition with for-profit companies, this should be taxed as it would for an ordinary business. As the former president and CEO of a small arts nonprofit, the New Orleans Creative Glass Institute, I know what it is like to run a shoestring operation working to have a positive impact on the community. And as a trustee of both the RosaMary and Keller Family foundations I see the work of hundreds of small nonprofits operating on very tight margins to improve conditions for the people of New Orleans. I would not support leveeing property taxes on these kinds of nonprofits. On the other hand, we also have many large nonprofits like Tulane University and Ochsner hospitals that can afford to contribute their share to the cost of drainage, streets, education and policing.
Evan Bergeron: I have heard neighbors’ anger over the lack of revenue and the need for additional revenue streams. I believe we should look at ways to collect millions of dollars in unpaid taxes from large corporations that are hiding their profits overseas first.
Marion Penny Freistadt: Absolutely, they should. The city will have a budgetary shortfall and the city is trying to patch it by increasing homeowner taxes. (by “rolling forward”). This should mostly apply to large nonprofits, such as churches. Very small nonprofits should perhaps be exempt. I believe this is mostly a city issue, but to the extent that the legislature can work on this, I will. This is a budget issue — we would have more money if we stop oil and gas subsidies. (reducing the necessity to change property tax). Any extra money should go to coastal restoration, climate mitigation and healing the citizens of cancer alley. In the long run, if we don’t stop climate change, property values will fall.

2. What would you do to control automatic weapons and ammunition?

Max Chiz: The sale of automatic weapons to civilians has been illegal under federal law since 1986 when Congress passed the Firearm Owners Protection Act. I intend to tackle gun violence by focusing on the underlying causes and using evidence to identify the areas where our resources can have the most impact.
Two-thirds of all gun deaths are suicides, almost all of the victims are men and most are older than 45. I will work with Gov. Edwards to rebuild our mental health system so that people get the help they need before they reach a crisis point.
The U.S. has 12,000 gun homicides per year. Half of the victims are men under the age of 35, and two-thirds of those men are black. Putting an end to the drug war and treating addiction instead of criminalizing it will eliminate much of this pointless death.
For the remainder, we need to do a better job of tracking the flow of illegal handguns from rural communities into our cities. I will go to rural parts of our state and work across the aisle to build consensus for legislation that targets gun trafficking. This is a major source of crime in rural communities and is something most gun owners want addressed. A bipartisan consensus is possible, but it requires being willing to travel to these places and talk to voters there on their own terms.
About 1,700 homicides are female victims of domestic violence. We have laws that are supposed to protect these victims. They are not working. Our police are often powerless to help and our judges have only crude tools that cannot fit the nuances of individual cases. I will work with our judges and law enforcement to amend our domestic violence laws so that they have tools they can use and that actually work.
Most mass shootings are committed by individuals who should have been flagged by the background check system and arrested when they attempted to by a weapon. But the background check system did not catch them because the information was not properly entered and tracked. I will pass laws that change our law enforcement practices so that dangerous people are prevented from buying weapons.
Finally, there has never been a school shooting at a school that used the evidence-based prevention programs developed after Columbine. But Republicans refuse to fund those programs. I will work to change this. No parent should have to worry about their child being at risk because a legislator or a school administrator cut corners.
Aimee Freeman: Gun violence deeply scars our city and must be stopped. I support legislation restricting access to a high-capacity magazines. I have received the Gun Sense Candidate distinction from Moms Demand Action.
Ravi Sangisetty: I support background checks, the repeal of the Dickey Amendment and full funding of gun violence research, an assault weapons ban and a high-capacity magazine ban.
Kea Sherman: I would support an assault weapons ban in Louisiana, as well as expanding background checks for all gun sales.
Carlos Zervigon: I would support legislation for a total ban on automatic weapons and large ammunition clips. I also support universal background checks, training and licensing for the purchase of any firearm. And I am against “conceal carry” licenses for civilians.
Evan Bergeron: As our next state representative, I will fight for a complete ban on automatic weapons and any other military-grade firearms. I will also fight for universal background checks, red-flag laws, and a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of firearms.
Marion Penny Freistadt: Louisiana has one of the highest rates of gun violence in the nation. We have virtually no gun regulation. We need to enact all the obvious gun control regs., such as background checks, guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, gun show loopholes. In addition we need to enact anti-violence and anti-racism training in all schools (in age-appropriate ways). All staff in the criminal legal system should have anti-racism training. Gun buybacks will be cheaper than paying for the results of violence. Crime and violence will increase with heat, climate change and resource scarcity. Solving the climate crisis may ameliorate some of these issues. Solving poverty will help also (another question below).

3. What would you do to lower prescription drug prices?

Max Chiz: Gov. Edwards has already taken significant steps to lower drug prices. As a result Louisiana will be the first state to stop the Hepatitis C outbreak. I will work with him to expand this program to other drugs. Expanding it throughout the medical system will dramatically lower the cost of insurance and medical care, especially for cancer and other conditions that often leave people bankrupt.
Aimee Freeman: Lowering drug prices is essential. I will support legislation to provide individual tax credits to people who spend a large percentage of their income on prescription drugs. I would investigate the idea to establish a mechanism to set ceilings on expensive brand-name drugs and also support legislation allowing the state to negotiate a price for bulk purchasing of drugs used by Medicare and Medicaid users.
Ravi Sangisetty: High prescription drug prices are a serious issue in our community, and I fully support measures to lower them. For instance, we’ve seen in 14 states, including Maryland and New Jersey, bills introduced that would establish affordability commissions to set payment ceilings for some prescription drugs.
Kea Sherman: I will support legislation designed create or strengthen drug price transparency rules, and ban pharmacy gag clauses that prevent pharmacists from informing customers when list price on medications might be cheaper than insurance co-pay.
Carlos Zervigon: As this is an issue controlled at the federal level, we are limited as to what we can do. But I would advocate with our congressional delegation to allow reimportation as well as federal negotiation to lower prices. In the legislature, I would support committee investigations into price gouging for such things as insulin and epinephrine to shame the companies profiteering off of these life-saving medicines. To any extent that the state could negotiate or set the price of such medicines, I would fully support such efforts.
Evan Bergeron: As our next state representative, I will work to continue to expand Medicaid, authorize importation of prescription drugs from other countries where medication is less expensive, impose limits on unfair marginal billing practices by pharmacy benefit managers, and expand the Louisiana Department of Health’s subscription program to other widely used medications.
Marion Penny Freistadt: Medicaid expansion lowers overall health care costs because fewer people go to emergency rooms. Campaign finance reform to stop donations from pharmaceuticals to legislators who regulate them. Ideally, I’d like to see a combined single payer system for those who desire it and retain some private health insurance for those desiring that. By making private insurance less essential, it would reduce the potency of the health insurance and pharmaceutical lobby. Health issues will worsen with climate change — heat- and flooding-related injuries will increase. Solving the climate crisis by reducing emissions now may help.

4. One in five people live in poverty, and one in three children live in poverty. What are your plans to lift children out of poverty?

Max Chiz: The most effective solution to poverty is early-childhood education starting at birth and following the protocol of the Abcedarian Project. I will institute this program state-wide and ensure that it is adequately funded. But we must ensure that children in poverty today are getting adequate nutrition, medical care and education. This means spending our limited resources on the best evidence-based policies and programs. This is especially important for sex education. The programs that Republicans in Baton Rouge insist on have been shown to increase teenage pregnancy and at-risk pregnancies. We must put a stop to this.
Aimee Freeman: Louisiana is one of the nation’s poorest states, and poverty is a major issue. There are a number of things that must be done: First, create more jobs by attracting new businesses to our city and state. Second, improve educational opportunities. Third, build the most effective job training program in the nation. Fourth, pass the bipartisan Louisiana Early Childhood Care & Education Commission’s LA B to 3 plan to increase access from 22,000 to 177,000 children under age 4 over the next decade. Fifth, raise the minimum wage reasonably and over time to help lift people out of poverty.
Ravi Sangisetty: My anti-poverty policy begins with early childhood education, so that all children are afforded the same opportunities for success later in life, along with universal free school lunch for children of all ages. I would go on to support the family at large with policies that promote quality, safe union job opportunities with fair pay, $15 and hour at a minimum. Furthermore, I would reduce the burden of medical costs on families by expanding access to health care.
Kea Sherman: First, I support an incremental raise in the minimum wage. If you work full time, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty. I support implementing a similar minimum wage increase as what was done in Illinois, where business was given tax credits to ease the burden of increased wages for their employees. I also support strengthening equal pay protection laws, so that single mothers are paid the same as their male counterparts.
We can transform our state and enrich our people by investing in our higher learning institutions, both four-year schools as well as our technical and vocational schools. Our schools need to grow and evolve with the times. We should be investing in educational programs that teach the skills needed for the 21st century economy, including health care and STEM.
Carlos Zervigon: Persistent poverty is the No. 1 problem in Louisiana, and it must be addressed at every opportunity. It is the reason that we find ourselves at the bottom of so many lists. At the state level, fixes include raising the minimum wage, increasing the earned income tax credit, access to quality affordable early childhood care and education, access to quality affordable health care, paid family leave, a criminal justice system that is less destructive to communities with high poverty rates, and a more equitable tax structure that lessens the burden on working families. It will take many years to unwind the structural inequities that keep Louisiana poor, but we must begin now.
Evan Bergeron: As our next state representative, I will fight to raise the minimum wage immediately to a living wage of at least $15 per hour and allow municipalities to set their own minimum wage based on cost of living. I will also fight to increase the earned income tax credit, reduce regressive taxes that hurt the poor and working class most, and establish a more progressive tax structure so that everyone pays their fair share. I will also work to appropriate funds so that schools can provide breakfast and lunch to children in need.
Marion Penny Freistadt: This is very important. How we treat the least of our citizens reflects the kind of people we are. It is systemic racism that underlies poverty, so we need to address that. We need to address the living wage laws, the preemption laws (which are the result of ALEC), affordable housing, improved treatment of formerly incarcerated persons. Climate change will heighten income inequality.

5. Have you ever contributed to a Republican candidate? If so how much? Why? How do you reconcile this while claiming to be Democrat?

Max Chiz: No. You can see my giving history here.
While walking the district, many small business owners have told me that they often feel like they have to contribute to Republican politicians to keep them and the Chamber of Commerce from passing regulations that benefit corporate donors at the expense of small businesses and workers. Our current attorney general is a major part of this effort. Everyone deserves a fair playing field under fair rules that apply equally. I will work to change our laws and keep corrupt politicians in check. I am tired of friends having to leave New Orleans to find work.
Aimee Freeman: I am a Democrat and have a long history of working for local Democratic candidates. I do recall once making a small contribution to Carly Fiorina when she ran for president against Donald Trump in the Republican primary. I was invited to a party hosted by business women in New Orleans. At the time, I was an Independent.
Ravi Sangisetty: Almost all of my donations throughout my involvement in political life have been to Democrats on the local, state and national level. I am progressive, but not overly partisan and that’s what it will take to deliver for New Orleans in a Republican legislature. On occasion, I’ve contributed to folks on the other side of the aisle and this is publicly available on the internet.
Kea Sherman: I have never contributed to a Republican candidate for office.
Carlos Zervigon: This election cycle, for the first time in my life, I made a contribution to a Republican candidate, Jim Garvey for BESE District 1. The amount was $250. Besides the fact that Jim is running in a district that will elect a Republican regardless, he has been a friend and ally in our efforts to improve New Orleans public schools. As a school founder and a charter school board president, I know I can depend on Jim to protect our schools’ autonomy while also holding schools accountable for their performance. I offer this as an example of how I will be able to work with legislators from across the aisle and across the state to achieve progress for the people of Louisiana.
Evan Bergeron: I have. I personally recall contributing small amounts to John Young for lieutenant governor and Chris Bailey for East Baton Rouge Parish School Board. Both of these contributions were based on personal relationships and because I believed the candidates would do a fair job based on the position sought. I also recall contributing small amounts to John McCain for president many years ago, which I know was more an attempt to fit in with societal pressures rather than a genuine support for the candidate. Growing up in rural south Louisiana, it took me a really long time to figure myself out, and that process included a substantial amount of assimilating behavior. I see the election of Barack Obama as one of the most important moments of my lifetime, and I regret not having the kind of outward confidence at the time to support someone who has done so much for gay people like me.
Marion Penny Freistadt: No

6. We have some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. The poorest among us, regardless of driving record, pay the highest rates, and many people need their cars to work but don’t earn enough to afford insurance. What will you do to help poor people with good driving records get affordable rates, aside from focusing on changes in the court system?

Max Chiz: First, insurance companies are able to charge as much as they do because people have no other options. In many cities, people are not required to buy cars because there is effective public transportation. We must ensure that Mayor Cantrell’s Fair Share initiative is put into action and that the city has access to the expertise and money necessary to provide such a system. We must also work to ensure that poor communities have access to grocery stores, schools and other essential services within walking distance.
Second, because of my mathematical background, I can sit down with the actuaries setting our insurance prices to figure out where the costs are coming from. I will then pass legislation to fix the actual problem instead of guessing.
Our court system can be made more cost effective and efficient, but plenty of cities have affordable insurance despite fair laws that do not deprive accident victims of fair compensation. We need to identify the real causes of the high prices and address them instead of adopting quick fixes that will only cause more problems in the future. My background in engineering and finance will enable me to do this work.
Aimee Freeman: Lowering car insurance rates is one of the most important solutions I will fight for in the legislature. I was the first candidate in our district to make this a major platform plank. Louisiana’s car insurance rates are the second highest in the nation. They are higher than rates in Mississippi and New York, Texas and California. They are 58% higher than the national average. Sky-high insurance rates hurt our families and local businesses. Clearly, something is wrong. As state representative, I will work to reform insurance laws, lower the number of uninsured motorists and reduce distracted driving.
Ravi Sangisetty: My plan to reduce insurance rates begins with sponsoring legislation to prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against women, widows, poor people and our military members returning from active duty when setting their rates. If this legislation is successfully passed, then we can avoid the complicated process of trying to create changes in the court system. This would lower insurance rates for thousands of families across Louisiana and begin to reduce the grip that the insurance industry has on our legislature.
Kea Sherman: I will file a bill that prohibits auto insurers from using gender, credit score and income to hike insurance rates. This will allow more Louisianians to get coverage and enter the risk pool, which should lower rates for all.
Carlos Zervigon: Our auto insurance rates are a tremendous burden and are, in effect, a grossly regressive tax. One of my sons is a 21-year-old student on academic and athletic scholarship at Tulane with a very high GPA and a perfect driving record. Yet his insurance bill is nearly $5,000 a year. These rates are out of reach of many of our residents. They are unacceptable. While the Insurance Commissioner has the power to limit insurance companies’ profits, very little, if anything can be done outside of changes in the court system.
Evan Bergeron: As our next state representative, I will work to require fair rating by insurance companies, make insurance premiums tax deductible, and regulate insurance premiums more closely. But I do not think you can answer this question without discussing reforms to personal injury litigation. That is why, as our next state representative, I will bring together trial lawyers, insurance agents, insurance policyholders and small businesses to discuss reasonable compromises that can help simplify our system while still ensuring that injured persons are fairly compensated.
Marion Penny Freistadt: This is very important. Somehow the insurance companies seem to have a grip on this state. We need to work with all legislators to fight this, probably deep insurance regulation reform. (The commissioner of insurance is up for election this year.) There are devices to put in cars to confirm good driving and anyone should be able to get that and reduce their rates. In the long run we should transition from fossil fuels and toward electrification and autonomous vehicles, and good public transit. High speed rail between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, as well as across the lake would be better also. We should pay for it by taxing the polluters. It would be better if people didn’t have to commute and kids could walk to school.

7. To male candidates: As a Democrat, seeing that there are few women in the legislature at a time when the public is demanding more female representation, how do you justify running against very qualified female candidates?

Max Chiz: I believe that candidates should be judged based on their qualifications. Because I have an engineering degree and an MBA concentrated in finance, I am bringing new and valuable skills to the legislature that it does not already have and that will help me be an effective advocate and problem solver. Our democracy is threatened by the rule of unaccountable experts. If we do not start electing legislators who can understand the problems they are trying to solve, we will not get better results.
Ravi Sangisetty: While I unequivocally support the pursuit of gender parity in government, I believe it’s also important for minorities to be represented. I would be the first Indian American, possibly first Asian American in the state house. As the son of immigrants, I have a unique perspective to offer on immigration issues our country is grappling with.
Carlos Zervigon: Growing up here in New Orleans, I was raised by many strong women who showed me by their example what it means to do everything you can to make our city and state the best it can be for everyone. These women include my grandmother, civil rights leader Rosa Keller, my mother Mary Zervigón, the first woman executive assistant to a mayor in the city’s history, and my aunt Anita Zervigón-Hakes, a co-founder of the New Orleans Coalition.
This spring, I was the only candidate, male or female, to go to Baton Rouge to personally lobby for the ERA. This election, I was extremely proud to earn the endorsement of the Independent Women’s Organization (IWO), an organization that I have tremendous respect for. They expressed their trust in me to be a dedicated partner in Baton Rouge to fight for progress together. It is for the same reason I have earned the endorsements of civil rights leader Ruby Bridges, former Sen. Mary Landrieu, and former City Council member Susan Guidry.
Evan Bergeron: I suppose I can ask the same question to the heterosexual candidates as it relates to openly LGBTQ members of the legislature. The truth is, while there are not enough women in the legislature, there are absolutely no openly LGBTQ members of the legislature currently, nor has there ever been an openly LGBTQ member of the Louisiana Legislature in our state’s 200+ year history.
But I am not asking the people of District 98 to vote for me because I am openly LGBTQ; I am asking for your vote because I can go to Baton Rouge and start fighting the conservatives’ harmful policies and delivering results for New Orleans the moment I step into the chamber and take the oath of office. Not one of my fellow candidates can claim 16 years of experience working in and around our legislature, and that’s why I’m the best candidate for the job.

8. Do you support the renewable portfolio standard and/or net metering? Do you support the renewable energy proposal (100% renewable NOLA) that the City Council will be voting on this December?

Max Chiz: This is a local issue, and my belief is that local issues should be decided locally by politicians accoutable to the voters who are impacted. Even when the City Council adopts policies I do not agree with, I will protect their ability to do so. Too much of our city’s policies are run out of Baton Rouge. New Orleans voters should decide what policies the city adopts.
I personally support the CLEP (Consumer Lowered Electricty Price) proposal. I believe this will have the biggest impact on our greenhouse gas emmissions. It will also result in lower energy costs for everyone, especially the poorest residents of the city. I would encourage you to look into this option and to let Helena Moreno know your opinion either way.
Aimee Freeman: I certainly support the goals behind the legislation, but I need to further research the specific proposals to make sure they accomplish these goals in a fair, productive way.
Ravi Sangisetty: I support the renewable portfolio standard and net metering. Renewable portfolio standards are critical to increase our investment in and use of renewable resources, which will play an important role in preserving our environment. Net metering practices incentivize individuals to generate their own electricity by reducing the costs associated with this practice, which I believe is another important component to increasing our use of renewable resources. I believe that New Orleans should maintain the goal of running on 100% renewable energy, and I believe that these measures are useful in promoting the transition to this goal.
Kea Sherman: New Orleans is on the front lines of the climate crisis. Protecting our city and restoring our coastline have been major components of my campaign for state representative. It is also why I’m proud to serve on the State Environmental Education Commission. I support investing in renewable energy sources here to lower our carbon footprint, while also building smart green infrastructure so that we can live better with water.
Carlos Zervigon: Yes, I strongly support both initiatives.
Evan Bergeron: Renewable energy is essential if we are going to attack climate change. As our next state representative, I will do everything I can to bring clean, renewable energy to our city and state as soon as possible so that we can drastically reduce carbon emissions and curb global warming.
Marion Penny Freistadt: I am working as a volunteer with the coalition to pass the city RPS. (actually called RRPS). It will probably pass, but the problem right now is that the for-profit utility monopoly will try to make it less mandatory and to include nuclear as “clean.” we need all citizens to contact your council members and lobby for mandatory and nonnuclear. Utility committee meetings are Thursdays, 10 a.m. in City Hall.
This is not a state representative issue, although the state officials should take a pro-climate stance and encourage council to pass a good RRPS. If elected, part of my platform is to pass a statewide RPS. 29 states and three territories have passed this, so we can do it here. The killing of net metering was a tragedy; it may be devastating to solar in Louisiana. We need to vote the Louisiana Public Service Commission out and get some climate-positive candidates in there. We need to change the campaign finance laws, because they are permitted to receive contributions from the industries that they regulate. Instead of killing net-metering, they should be enhancing the rewards for installing solar.

9. What will you do to limit or prevent large trucks from using narrow residential streets?

Max Chiz: This is also a local issue. Mayor Cantrell is considering various proposals. I would encourage you to contact your representatives on the City Coucil to get more and better information than I can provide. I have promissed the mayor to fight for her Fair Share program so that she has the resources needed to tackle infrastructure issues like this one.
Aimee Freeman: Only four miles of District 98 (a stretch of Claiborne Avenue) belong to the state roads of Louisiana. As a state legislator, I will speak to City Council members and encourage city legislation prohibiting most large trucks from using residential streets. Fines for violations should be large and meaningful.
Ravi Sangisetty: Large trucks using roads that were not built to sustain their weight can cause increased damage to our infrastructure that is already struggling, as well as impacting residents’ daily lives, so this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Because this is a local issue, I would like to work with City Council members to pass local regulations in New Orleans to limit large truck traffic in residential neighborhoods and reduce the damage they cause.
Kea Sherman: I will support local government enforcing proper use of roadways.
Carlos Zervigon: As legislators in Baton Rouge, we can work with the Port of New Orleans to ensure that large trucks have specific routs to the river that do not encroach on neighborhoods. And we can work with the City Council to support ordinances prohibiting large trucks from narrow back streets.
Evan Bergeron: As our next state representative, I will work with the Department of Transportation and Development to ensure that regulations are in place that will protect our fragile streets from overuse by large vehicles while still allowing for deliveries and the continuity of commerce.
Marion Penny Freistadt: This is very important. This is a climate issue, because we need to reduce truck freight all-around. We need to consume less and we need to electrify our truck force. Trucks would be lighter and quieter. This is an infrastructure problem because they are destroying our streets.
I have proposed several funding mechanisms for improving infrastructure. I believe they are breaking the law, since trucks should stay on truck routes. Perhaps we can install those very effective photo cameras and have them focus on renegade trucks instead of hardworking citizens. Fines should go back to infrastructure. Again, may not be a state legislature issue, but state reps can advocate for the right thing.

Early voting ends Saturday. Oct. 5. Election day is Oct. 12.

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