Governor, mayoral candidates attend organized labor picnic

Governor, mayoral candidates, other politicos attend organized labor picnic

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Live music, plenty of food and lots of politicians.  That was the making of the annual organized labor picnic at City Park on Labor Day.

"We have a lot of hard working generous good people in Louisiana," said Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Dozens of others holding political office in the city, or hoping to do so showed as did some elected officials from neighboring Jefferson Parish.

It was an occasion many of the candidates for New Orleans mayor made a point of being a part of on a day set aside to celebrate the workforce. After all, there were hundreds of voters at the ready.

"I already have a proven track record of protecting workers' rights, they've supported me in the past because they know that's my posture," said former judge and mayoral candidate Desiree' Charbonnet.

"We have to grow to survive, we have to give our people hope, protection and the opportunities that they need to reach their full potential in our city," said City Councilwoman Latoya Cantrell, who is also a candidate for mayor.

"If you're attracting business you're going to attract jobs, if you're attracting jobs labor is happy, you know I'm happy we're all happy if you have business, jobs and a safe city," said former judge Michael Bagneris, another candidate vying to become mayor.

"They want someone that's going to look out for their human interests and their employment interests and that's what I represent because of the experience that I have with labor, I'm the only candidate that's really ever run and managed organizations that are unionized," said businessman Troy Henry, who is also a mayoral candidate.

"I'm very supportive of increasing our minimum wage, making sure that we have affordable living in this city because a lot of things have gone up," said mayoral candidate Tommy Vassel.

"I'm the outsider, people say where did this Scurlock guy come from?  I'm certainly not a politician but I am a business leader. I know how to develop things like in our background here," said candidate Frank Scurlock.

"We're 40 days out from the primary," said pollster and political analyst, Silas Lee, Ph.D.

Some mayoral candidates concede that many voters have been distracted by the recent local headlines, involving the problems at the Sewerage and Water Board, as well as destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.

"I think this stretch run is when people will really begin paying attention to the competence level of the actual mayoral candidates," said Henry.

"I'm the only candidate that's ever served at the Sewerage and Water Board, that understands turbines… and generators," Vassel stated.

"The Sewerage and Water Board problem that we had that's part of the political malfunction that exists, so that's not a distraction, that's an emphasis on how much we need to have someone with my experience and background," stated Bagneris.

"Harvey could have been us and so anything that we're reminded of where we've been as a city it should galvanize us in order to improve our quality of life," said Cantrell.

"You had two major floods, significant flooding and a lot of people affected. This is still a community where people are still physically as well as psychologically recovering from Katrina and this electorate wants accountability, they want results," said Dr. Lee.

Distractions aside, the race may get muddier, soon.

"I'm prepared for whatever comes my way and I'll have a good response for it," said Charbonnet.

Election day is October 14th this year. In recent memory, the mayoral election has been in February, so Dr. Lee said this is a shortened campaign season for the candidates.

Copyright 2017 WVUE. All rights reserved.