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Decision 2003: The Governor's Debate, No. 1

Louisiana Gubernatorial Debates



Genre: Debate

Place Covered: Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana

Copyright Holder: Louisiana Educational Television Authority

Date Issued: 2003-08-28

Duration: 01:26:22

Subjects: Television debates | Elections, 2003 | Louisiana gubernatorial election, 2003 | Politics | Government | COUNCIL FOR A BETTER LOUISIANA | Leach, Buddy | Ewing, Randy L. | BLOSSMAN, JAY | Blanco, Kathleen Babineaux, 1942- | Downer, Hunt | Jindal, Bobby, 1971- | Ieyoub, Richard P. | ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | Juvenile justice, Administration of | Juvenile Delinquents | Crime | Education | HIGHER EDUCATION | TOPS PROGRAM | Taylor Opportunity Program for Students | Louisiana Educational Assessment Program | Poverty | Educational accountability | Graduation rates | Child Care | Early childhood education | Health Care | Louisiana Charity Hospital System | School voucher | Educational vouchers


  • Courtney, Beth Moderator
  • Erwin, Barry Moderator
  • Leach, Buddy Panelist
  • Ewing, Randy Panelist
  • Blossman, Jay Panelist
  • Blanco, Kathleen Panelist
  • Downer, Hunt Panelist
  • Jindal, Bobby Panelist
  • Ieyoub, Richard Panelist
  • Gordon, Stewart Speaker
  • Dave, Hina Speaker
  • Ducre, Adonis Speaker
  • Richey, Allen Speaker


Beth Courtney and Barry Erwin of the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) moderate a live debate from the Old State Capitol in Baton Rouge on August 28, 2003, between the seven candidates for Governor: former State Representative Claude “Buddy” Leach (D); former Senate President Randy Ewing (D); Public Service Commissioner Jay Blossman (R); Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Blanco (D); State Representative Hunt Downer (R); former Health and Hospitals Secretary Bobby Jindal (R); and Attorney General Richard Ieyoub (D). The debate consists of three rounds of questions that focus on children, education, and health. In lieu of an opening statement, the candidates answer the following question: What would each of you say, as Governor, to a 25-year-old graduate of a Louisiana university who is living in Atlanta, but wants to come home? For the first round of questions, the moderators ask questions to an individual candidate on the following topics: reforming the juvenile justice system; state take-overs of failing public schools; whether the TOPS program encourages students to attend 4 year universities when they would be better served by attending a community college or vo-tech school; raising the standards on LEAP tests; reducing the childhood poverty rate; holding colleges and universities accountable for their graduation rates; and the role of the government in addressing childcare. Citizens from around the state then ask the second round of questions to the candidates on the following topics: early childhood education programs; improving the Charity Hospital system; keeping college graduates in Louisiana; whether TOPS graduates who leave Louisiana should be required to pay back their tuition money; securing funding for LSU; and what history will say about their terms as Governor. For the third round, each candidate asks another candidate a question. Their questions cover the following topics: which candidate they support in the Lieutenant Governor’s race; Leach’s proposed tax on foreign and offshore oil and natural gas; saving the coast; raising supplemental pay for law enforcement officers; increasing the minimum wage; and the role of legislative experience in leadership. In the time remaining, the moderators then ask the candidates two “yes or no” questions: whether teacher pay should be tied to performance and whether they support school vouchers for students attending failing public schools. The debate ends with each candidate’s closing statement.