Sep 15, 2011 11:27 PM by Maddie Garrett

Incumbents Missing from Live Debates

Political debates have now become the topic of debate in Acadiana, as two incumbents so far haven't attended the events at Acadiana Open Channel, put on by Acadiana Progressives and the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee.

Incumbent State Representative Ricky Hardy (D-Lafayette) was expected to attend the first night of debates, but ended up not going. He said he never gave a final confirmation to organizers.

"It was, in my opinion, it was a set up. Because of the fact that I exposed corruption within the Lafayette Housing Authority and one of the persons that was on the panel was part of the alleged corruption at the Housing Authority," explained Hardy.

That panelist is Porsha Evans. But debate organizer Stephen Handwerk said Hardy should have told them about the conflict ahead of time so someone else could have taken her place on the panel.

"Why didn't he or any of his people, mention this to us? It would have been so easy," replied Handwerk.

Incumbent State Senator Elbert Guillory (D- LA District 24) also didn't make it to his debate on Wednesday. But Handwerk said they knew he wouldn't be able to attend because of a previously scheduled fundraiser.

"He told us right from the start that he had another item scheduled in his calendar when he first contacted us about a week ago," said Handwerk.

Guillory confirmed that he tried to make it to the debates, but couldn't fit it in with his schedule. He said he wishes he could have been there.

"I don't know mind walking into the lion's den. I have a record to run on, as long as I can put my issues before the people I'm fine," said Guillory.

Hardy on the other hand, said he has no regrets about his decision, saying his record speaks for itself.

"What is there to debate? When in fact I can stand behind a proven track record, a list of accomplishments," said Hardy.

Incumbent for Lafayette City-Parish President, Joey Durel, still hasn't confirmed if he will be able to attend his debate next week, which will air on AOC2 starting at six o'clock on Thursday evening.


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