Edwin Edwards holds fundraiser in Morgan City

Edwin Edwards, who is running for Louisiana's 6th Congressional District seat, speaks Wednesday night at a fundraiser held at NicoBella in Morgan City.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)

From left, Randi Nichole Landry of Morgan City, Edwin Edwards, Shannon Bruni of Morgan City and Johnny Lancon of Morgan City pose for a photo at a fundraiser for Edwards Wednesday night at NicoBella in Morgan City. Edwards is running for Louisiana’s 6th Congressional District seat.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)

By ZACHARY FITZGERALD zfitzgerald@daily-review.com

Former governor and 6th Congressional District candidate Edwin Edwards stopped in Morgan City Wednesday night for a fundraiser at NicoBella, telling supporters he will spend their money in the district for their benefit, even though they are not in his district.
While addressing supporters at the fundraiser, Edwards said, “What people are going to say to you is ‘what the hell is Edwin Edwards doing in Morgan City running for Congress in the 6th District?’”
However, Edwards said he can spend donors’ money in the 6th District to benefit those people in the Morgan City area. St. Mary Parish is in Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District. U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, who represents St. Mary Parish and the rest of the 3rd District, is married to Edwards’ niece.
The 6th District includes Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Lafourche, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. John the Baptist, Terrebonne and West Baton Rouge parishes.
Former U.S. Rep. Charlie Melancon introduced Edwards at the fundraiser. When event organizer Lenny Dartez called him asking him to introduce Edwards, Melancon thought, “Is this silly? Nobody knows me. Everybody knows him so why would I need to introduce him?” he said. During his political career, Edwards has been a city councilman, state senator, congressman and longest serving governor in state history, Melancon said.
Melancon has known Edwards since 1971 when he worked on Edwards’ campaign for governor.
From talking to people, Edwards said their biggest concern is “Obamacare.” The bill is extremely complicated and does not do exactly what it was supposed to do, he said.
“The president had promised that if people liked their insurance they could keep it. That turned out not to be correct,” Edwards said.
However, the bill does have good provisions including allowing people with pre-existing conditions to get health insurance and children can stay on their parents’ policies until age 26.
Though the event was a fundraiser for Edwards’ campaign, he wanted to let people in the Morgan City area know that even though they are on the far end or just outside of the district, he still cares about them and will be there to serve them, he said.
Edwards also said the Keystone pipeline also needs to be completed and legislators should continue to push to allow for its completion, he said. “There are 173,000 miles of pipeline in this country transporting petrochemicals, oil, gas and gasoline. There’s no major problems with that,” Edwards said.
Dartez, of Morgan City, said he brought the idea to Edwards about two months ago to hold a fundraiser while at another political function. “We discussed the configuration of the district, and he said it was going to be close to St. Mary. But he wasn’t running in St. Mary,” Dartez said.
Still, Dartez told Edwards people in the area would still probably like to raise money for his campaign, he said.
“He was good to the oil field service companies when he was governor and when he was a senator before that and congressman before that,” Dartez said.
Dartez expected about 150 people to show up during the event, he said. A few people came from the 6th Congressional District in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, Dartez said.
Though Edwards is a Democrat, Edwards said he would not vote for or against legislation just based on party-affiliation, though he does not like some of the things the right-wing, tea party supports and even certain things in his own party.
Regarding river dredging, Edwards said he intends to be on the public works committee in Congress, which handles that issue. Edwards was responsible for constructing the U.S. 90 bridge over the Atchafalaya River as governor, he said.
Edwards was instrumental in getting four lanes through Lafayette on the Interstate 49 corridor, he said. Environmental problems have held that project up, but he hopes to see I-49 completed through to New Orleans, he said.
Edwards said he loves the area, and Morgan City was one of his campaign stops when he first ran for governor in 1971. The Morgan City and Houma areas are extremely important to the shipping, oil and gas industry and agricultural industries in Louisiana, Edwards said.
Edwards served as governor for 16 years and served in Congress for seven years prior to that. “I know the conditions of this parish. I know what people are interested in, and I know the attitudes. And I intend to reflect those attitudes and do what I can to make things better,” Edwards said.

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