Debate season kicked off tonight in the heart of LSU’s campus with the three major candidates for the gubernatorial election.
Incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards, Businessman Eddie Rispone and Congressman Ralph Abraham spoke on pressing issues concerning voters.
The first topic of the debate, whether to pass laws banning flavored e-cigarettes, affects LSU students and young adults directly. Each candidate was given 60 seconds to give their opinion on the ban.
"We should put the warning on those, and we shouldn't be using and producing those things," Rispone said. "Would I give an executive order to do away with them? I don't think I'm prepared to say that tonight."
"If you're over 21, and you smoke a cigarette, I don't recommend it," Abraham said. "If you do e-cigarettes, I don't recommend that either, but it is a personal choice."
"I do believe, by the way, that people ought to be 21 in order to access the product," Edwards said.
Another issue discussed was the uncertainty of funding higher education to the full amount. Each candidate spoke on how they’re working to keep students in Louisiana with the use of the TOPS program.
"What I'm not going to do is make TOPS a political football by threatening the TOPS program, if we have a budget situation that we don't really have," Rispone said.
"It keeps our best and brightest here in Louisiana and beyond," Edwards said.
"Our young people, they are leaving in droves," Abraham said. "It's this TOPS project that keeps them in Louisiana with that good job waiting, which unfortunately we don't have now," Abraham said.
With the rise in mass shootings across the country, gun control has been a topic of debate between political parties. All candidates agreed that the second amendment should be protected especially in Sportsman’s Paradise.
Tensions were high between Abraham and Edwards as they debated past political decisions, while Rispone promoted his montra of the conservative outsider.
"We're having too much fun watching these two politicians," Rispone said. "It's ok. I'll keep you straight. I'm a businessman."
Throughout the night, cheers erupted from passionate supporters for all three candidates. However, Edwards’ supporters closed the debate with a confident rally cry.
"Four more years! Four more years," Edwards' supporters chanted.
The primary election is October 12, and the deadline to register to vote is September 21 through TurboVote.