Republican Candidates Vie in HD66

The three Republicans competing in a special election for House District 66 debated the issues before the Ronald Reagan Newsmaker Luncheon on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at Café Américain, 7521 Jefferson Hwy.

Metro Councilman Buddy Amoroso, Baton Rouge attorney Rick Bond, and former Metro Councilman and banker Darrell Ourso outlined their platforms and answered questions from the audience, which included members of the news media, elected officials, and Republican activists.

In his opening statement, Amoroso said that he is a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican in that order.  He discussed his strong support for the right to life and his slogan, “Actions Speak Louder Than Words.”  He said that he supports the right of citizens of St. George to vote on whether to incorporate as a new city.

He said, “I’m a conservative on taxes” and a founder of Taxbusters, which fights higher taxes.  “Overall, we must focus on making government smaller,” he said.

He said he has fought successfully as a Metro Councilman to reform the CATS board and to put the Council on record against new EPA standards that could damage the Capital region.

Amoroso said his goals are a better business environment, better infrastructure, and better schools.    “Baton Rouge is on the verge of an economic boom, but only if we achieve those goals,” he said.

In his opening statement, Rick Bond said he has degrees in economics and law from LSU and owns several small businesses.  He said he is familiar with government forms and bureaucrats, and he doesn’t like either one.  He said he will fight for free market principles and low regulations.

In his opening statement, Darrell Ourso discussed his career, which includes 12 years at City National Bank, service on the Istrouma Area Council of Boy Scouts, and two terms on the Metro Council.  As a Councilman, he was instrumental in getting Marathon Oil to build facilities here, and he passed the ordinance allowing voters to approve L’Auberge Casino opening here.

When asked what single bill they would like to pass in their first session, Bond said he would like to do away with hidden taxes.  Ourso said his would provide for judicial transparency.  Amoroso said he would limit the number of tax elections.

The special election, which is scheduled for Feb. 21, was caused by the resignation of Rep. Hunter Greene, who was elected Family

Court Judge. Greene attended the meeting to congratulate the candidates for running and to encourage their efforts.  Sen. Dan Claitor, whose Senate district overlaps HD66, also commended the candidates for offering themselves.  Claitor asked the candidates for their view on tax credits and exemptions.  Amoroso said they should be offered only for true economic development.  Bond said most should be eliminated and tax rates reduced.  Ourso said exemptions should be tied to measurable results.

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