Edwards, Abraham face off in first debate

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BATON ROUGE (The Franklin Sun) – Gov. John Bel Edwards and U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham faced off in gubernatorial debate for the first time last week since the Republican congressman announced his bid for the Democratic governor’s job.

Edwards said the state is better off than it was four years ago, with GDP and personal income at an all-time high. He touted more than 130 economic development “wins” and turning a $2 billion deficit into a surplus.

Higher education funding has been stabilized, Edwards said, and Medicaid expansion is saving lives, cutting the uninsured rate in half and helping rural hospitals stay open. He said he had ended the budget “gimmickry” of the prior administration by not using one-time money for recurring expenses.

Edwards said state officials are using new, innovative ways to support infrastructure, such as public-private partnerships and GARVEE bonds. He said his administration ended the practice of diverting Transportation Trust Fund dollars to State Police.

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