Candidates exchange jabs across the river before general election
Brusly native and House representative candidate Edmond Jordan cautioned voters last week that his opponents’ health may be a factor in the upcoming general election.
Ronnie Edwards, who is an East Baton Rouge Parish District 5 Metro Council member, is currently vying against Jordan, an attorney, to take the seat of House District 29, which encompasses West Baton Rouge Parish’s metropolitan limits and a portion of north Baton Rouge. Edwards is currently undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer and has been absent from all of the Metropolitan Council meetings since June as a result.
“We need someone who has demonstrated that they are capable of fulfilling this role as legislator. I know that her recent inability to serve is through no fault of her own. However, our issues are too great and important to not have representation that is focused on our challenges,” Jordan wrote in a letter last week.
Edwards’ biography on the Metropolitan Council’s website states that she was recognized in 2014 as a conqueror and survivor of pancreatic cancer. Edwards said that she was diagnosed in December 2013 and is in partial remission in an emailed statement.
According to the National Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, “about 5 percent of patients with cancer of the exocrine pancreas will be alive five years after the cancer is found.” In a letter before the primary election on Oct. 24, Edwards told voters that “A diagnosis is not a death sentence.
Discussing his opponents personal health as a factor in the race was not an easy decision to make, Jordan said in his letter. He said that good health will be necessary to endure the upcoming legislative sessions.
“The safe decision would be to say nothing; but that’s not leadership, that’s politics,” Jordan wrote.
Edwards has countered that WBR is a minority of the district and the representative should reflect the public that they serve.
“I have a great deal of sensitivity toward rural communities,” Edwards said. “He doesn’t have a great deal of community service on either side [of the river].”
Jordan disagreed with both claims. The east and west side of the district still face the same issues, such as traffic, education, economic development and access to healthcare, he added.
“I don’t think it’s important whether the representative comes from West Baton Rouge or East Baton Rouge,” Jordan said. “Rather than divide the districts, I would prefer to unite.”
Jordan added that his business, Cypress Insurance Agency, is located in the EBR portion of the district.
Jordan and Edwards faced two other contenders during the Oct. 24 election, Vereta Lee and Daniel Banguel. Of the 10,346 votes cast in the district, Edwards took the lead with 3,733 (36 percent) and Jordan with 2,966 (29 percent).
Of the 3,977 votes cast for District 29 in WBR, Jordan took 2,022 (51 percent) while Edwards took 999 (25 percent).
Jordan said he expects to pick up votes from all of the candidates who were on the ballot for District 29 in the primary election, including those from Edwards.
The two candidates for District 29 will be on the ballot for Saturday, Nov. 21. Early voting is in effect through Saturday, Nov. 14.