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The Daily Review/Bill Decker
State Rep. Beryl Amedee, R-Houma, speaks at Tuesday's Chamber of Commerce forum alongside challenger Clayton Voisin, a fellow Republican from Terrebonne Parish.

District 51 hopefuls meet in forum

Morgan City’s representative in the state House says she’s happy to be a member of the Appropriations Committee with its budget responsibilities.
“If I wasn’t on Appropriations, I’d be miserable, because being on that I can dig deeply into the budget, every facet of it,” state Rep. Beryl Amedee said Tuesday at a St. Mary Chamber of Commerce candidate forum at Morgan City Municipal Auditorium.
Amedee, R-Houma, was joined at the forum by challenger Clayton Voisin of Dulac, a former three-term Terrebonne Parish Council member. They’re the lone candidates for the House District 51 seat in the Oct. 12 primary.
The district reaches into extreme eastern St. Mary Parish.
The candidates were asked by moderator Jason Watson which committees they’d like to be part of if they win.
Voisin said he’d like to be on Natural Resources “so others, especially our youth, will be able to enjoy this area as we have in the past.”
He also expressed interest in Ways & Means with its jurisdiction over tax legislation.
Amedee said she wants to stay on Appropriations, a post that brings with it a seat on the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. She said she’s tried to hold the line against new taxes.
“My district is not yet seeing the economic recovery the rest of the nation seems to be seeing,” Amedee said.
And she said she’s resisted attempts, apparently referring to the John Bel Edwards administration, to warning of dire cuts in health care and care for the elderly, which “are just a farce to force votes on tax increases.”
Amedee also likes her place on the Education and Labor panels and would like committee posts that will have a say in redistricting after the 2020 Census.
When the question turned to the oil industry, Voisin pointed to drilling cost as a major cause of the industry’s woes. Lawsuits also play a role, he said, and the high cost of insurance.
“If you know what you’re paying for insurance and complaining, imagine if you were a major oil company,” Voisin said.
Amedee put the blame on high and unpredictable taxes, lawsuits and a lack of skilled workers.
Asked about juvenile justice, Voisin said, “Our youth needs education, not incarceration.”
He also said the state needs activities to keep young people out of trouble.
“What we have to do is, we’re probably going to have to change the way we think about the way they live,” Voisin said.
Amedee said the big problem in juvenile justice is a lack of space in the system for juvenile offenders, including juveniles awaiting a disposition on their case.
In closing, Voisin said he wants to give the district back to its people.
Amedee said, “I’m running for re-election because I’m part of the new guard, not the old guard.”

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