Tulane hosts mayoral forum for Cantrell, Charbonnet

On Oct. 26, Tulane hosted a mayoral forum featuring the two final candidates in the New Orleans mayoral race, LaToya Cantrell and Desiree Charbonnet.

Representatives from six colleges and one theological seminary in the New Orleans area were present to ask questions of and interact with the candidates. The program was sponsored by the Tulane Black Student Union and held in the Kendall Cram Room of the Lavin-Bernick Center.

The candidates spoke about issues including crime rates, stormwater management, traffic lights, affordable housing for students and a type of “Marshall plan” for the city of New Orleans.

At the start of the forum, each candidate was given five minutes to introduce themselves. Cantrell used her time to elaborate on her prior experience with local government, while Charbonnet shared her judicial experience as evidence of her qualifications for this position. 

Cantrell emphasized throughout the forum the need to play to the city’s strengths, noting that New Orleans must work with industries that are already here to spur economic growth and social progress.

“We have eight colleges and universities in the city of New Orleans and two medical schools, you know that,” Cantrell said, “And yet, we don’t play to the strength and leverage accordingly. That is an industry in and of itself and we have to take advantage of it.”

Charbonnet placed emphasis on the criminal rehabilitation program she created while a judge, which offers rehabilitative services to those convicted of sexual crimes who also have other drug-related problems. She said she believes this will help cut down on crime and mass incarceration rates, of which New Orleans is a world leader.

This forum was reserved for only faculty and students from the eight colleges and theological seminary present in an effort to make this geared as much toward young voters as possible.

Tulane junior Justin Sandoval said he was excited to see a program geared toward millennial voters held on Tulane’s campus.

“There are many issues that heavily affect us, such as the cost of college and the job market that we’re about to enter,” Sandoval said. “I think it’s great that we have a place where we can ask questions that directly affect us.”

He added that he was excited to see two female candidates in the race for mayor. This will be the first African-American female mayor the city of New Orleans has ever elected.

“I’m particularly excited about the fact that both candidates are women because that is a huge step in terms of gender equality,” Sandoval said.

Polls for the New Orleans mayoral election will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 18. Tulane students can visit Holy Name of Jesus School on Cromwell Place to cast their votes.

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