State Representative District 20 candidates talk Medicaid, education, economic development

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) Four candidates are running for the State House District 20 seat.

Four candidates are running for the State House District 20 seat. Source: (KNOE)

Army National Guard veteran Tammy Reed is a Democrat from Columbia.

Republican Kevin Bates is a pastor from Winnsboro.

Neil Riser is a Republican businessman from Columbia.

And Marteze Singleton from Winnsboro is running as a Democrat.

Tammy Reed said economic development is one of her top priorities.

"Our population is decreasing because people are seeking jobs elsewhere out of our parish," said Reed. "Which also results in poor school systems, poor roads, poor everything. It's a trickle-down effect."

Reed said, if elected, she would urge the Chamber of Commerce to bring more business to District 20.

"They have to do their research to find out what is most effective in that area, what business would thrive," she said. "So I want to try to push that legislation so we can sit down and talk with those businesses and the communities."

Kevin Bates said he's worried about Medicaid fraud costing both the district and taxpayers.

"I believe in Medicaid, and I believe in helping people and providing insurance for people that need it. But it's the folks that are illegally on the rolls that are costing our state millions of dollars," he said.

Bates said he wants Medicaid to be taken over by the state.

He also said he doesn't think North Louisiana is getting its fair share of education funding.

"Since we don't have the tax base, we don't get the funds for education that I believe we should get unlike some of the more wealthy parishes across the state," he said.

Neil Riser said getting that funding is a necessity to bring the best teachers to the area.

"I want to make sure that we have the very best teachers. It's like any other occupation. If you want the best, you're going to have to pay for the best," he said.

Riser also said he was worried about limited access to high-speed internet in his district.

"Without high-speed internet, we've got children that have to leave their home to do their homework. And that's just not acceptable," said Riser. "If you miss out on this high-speed internet, it'll be like missing out on a railway. It'll be like missing out on the interstate coming through your hometown or close to you."

We reached out to Marteze Singleton, but he did not get back to us for an interview.

We have extended interview with each of the candidates regarding some of the other issues on which they are focused. Those can be viewed at the top of the page.