Nov 17, 2011 2:02 AM by Jim Hummel
Voters in District 39 will elect a new state representative Saturday. In the runoff are Stephen Ortego, D-Carencro, and Don Menard, R-Cankton.
Menard has 34 years experience in politics, most recently as St. Landry Parish President.
"I run on my record," said Menard. "In this day's economy, we need someone who has experience."
While Ortego has never held elected office, he's no stranger to the political scene. In 2007 he ran for the district 39 seat and narrowly missed a runoff. He touts himself as a fresh face with fresh ideas for voters.
"I think that they're tired of the old politics as usual," said Ortego. "I'm not part of that political class and I'm not part of the problem."
Both candidates are small business owners. Menard is the owner of Don's Country Mart in Carencro.
"I've created hundreds of jobs in the years that I've been in business," said Menard.
Ortego hold a Master's degree in Architecture from Tulane University, and is the co-founder of Ecolafayette, a design-build firm, which focuses on eco-friendly construction.
"That's a specialty that I can bring, understanding how to bring a better business environment in Louisiana, especially for young entrepreneurs," said Ortego.
Menard has garnered endorsements from a variety of business groups, including the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry and the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. Among Ortego's endorsements is longtime state Rep. Clara Baudoin, who held the seat for 12 years and has never endorsed a candidate until now.
Polls open at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.