Sharon Weston Broome (D)

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Do you believe Baton Rouge has a race problem, and if so what 2 steps would you take as mayor in your first year to address it? 

I do believe that Baton Rouge has been described as ‘A Tale of Two Cities,’ and I believe connected to that division is the issue of race. You can tell by the demographics of where people live. I do think the issue of race is a prevalent issue in our community, and the two things I would do are:

1. I would bring together a diverse coalition of individuals from across the community to have a conversation and identify three common short-term and long-term goals that we can set as a community. Those issues are going to need to be addressed if we’re going to be a first-class city where everybody can survive and prosper. This group would meet several times and would explore the barriers.

2. I would also make sure we’re working towards achieving economic equity across in our city.

East Baton Rouge Parish and its residents were severely impacted by the August floods. What specific ideas do you have to rebuild our community and strengthen its people?

I’m going through that myself right now, so I certainly empathize. I believe that we have to make sure that people are brought back to where they lived before the storm physically, and we have to make sure when we rebuild that we look at specific causes surrounding the flood so that people can be safe from future disasters. We have to rebuild smart, work with FEMA, make sure that any home is protected from future flooding. We have to work towards mitigating future damages. We have to make sure the feds are involved and that they step up to the plate and help families become whole again. I am going to work with our delegation and make that a priority. It’s important that our federal government respond beyond FEMA and SBA loans. As a former legislator, I still maintain positive relationships with legislature, and we’re going to need every level of assistance possible.

I also believe that this flood highlights a lot of issues in this community. We need effective sewer protection and how we manage water when it moves through our city. A new administration needs to examine and evaluate and make sure we are maximizing that part of our infrastructure. This is indeed a priority because if we want a community that is going to thrive and prosper, this is an integral part of that. If families are not made whole, there is a domino effect. As far as DPW goes, I am definitely going to charge them with an examination of our underground infrastructure.

In order for you to consider your first term as mayor a success, what is the No. 1 thing you hope to have accomplished?

I will consider it a success when I change the trajectory of the lives of those individuals who have been impacted by the great flood. And I will consider my first term a success when I see tangible manifestations of a more unified city and parish.

Her background:

Former state senator. Adjunct instructor of mass communications at Southern University.

Longtime legislator representing north Baton Rouge. First woman to serve as President Pro Tempore in the state House and Senate. Co-chair for Gov. John Bel Edwards’ transition.

Retrain police officers in community policing. Demand more officers live in Baton Rouge. Mandate body cameras for officers. Create an outside oversight board in addition to police internal affairs. Create a “crime strategy unit” that uses cyber technology. Expand services of the truancy center. Create a mental health center. Deconstruct blighted houses and build new homes with the materials. Appoint executive-level staffer focused on education. Oppose new school districts. Improve healthcare access in north Baton Rouge. Create “Cradle to K” initiative aimed at early childhood health and education. Include more small businesses in city-parish contracting. Appoint cabinet-level traffic engineer. Extend the Green Light Program. Enhance Baton Rouge Zoo in current location. Raise local minimum wage to $10 an hour by 2020. Create a searchable database of city-parish expenses and contracts. Create after-school and job training programs.