College Democrats host environmental debate

Rae Walberg

Tuesday, Sept. 24, in Nunemaker Hall Loyola’s College Democrats and students from Benjamin Franklin High School’s Green Society hosted a forum and debate on climate change and the local agenda. This event focused on representatives and candidates coming from the 91st and 98th district and their respective answers to these hot-plate issues.

The evening started off as an environmental roundtable where the panel of representatives discussed their plans to combat environmental racism, loss of wetlands and climate change.

Across the board there was a recognition of tax breaks given to oil and gas companies in Louisiana and many agreed to start holding them accountable.

During the question and answer portion of the forum, audience members voiced their concern about the planned diversion of funds from tourism to the environment believing it will tarnish the local economy.

District 98 representative Carlos Zervigan said that if climate change and flooding is not addressed, people will not want to come to New Orleans.

At 8 p.m. the night shifted to a debate among members of the 98th district on issues regarding medicaid, voter suppression, the criminal justice system, education and the decriminalization of marijuana.

Representatives unanimously agreed that the underlying issue of these topics is systemic racism and advocated for anti-racism training in public services.

Throughout the evening, members from both districts expressed their gratitude toward the students who came to ask questions and involve themselves in local politics.

According to District 91 representative Pepper Brown Rousell, student and young adult participation is integral to mobilize these issues and she encouraged students to come and support the legislation of these issues in Baton Rouge.

The College Democrats plan to organize more political evenings and forums in the near future , environmental science professor Aimee Thomas said.