NEW ORLEANS- At Tulane University, mayoral candidates Desiree Charbonnet and LaToya Cantrell listened and answered questions from students representing the city's colleges and universities. Both candidates told the group of young adults that they know how important millennials are, not only to this election, but to the city.
Students who participated included Tulane, Loyola, Dillard, SUNO, UNO, and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
The Tulane Black Student Union hosted the forum, with the Isiah Institute of New Orleans helping to organize it.
"We have to make them understand that they not only matter but we need them," Cantrell said.
"They represent the future. I need them here. I need their new ideas to take us into this 300th year and beyond," Charbonnet said.
Cantrell and Charbonnet answered several questions including coastal restoration, mass incarceration sanctuary cities, human trafficking and the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students or TOPS. Both candidates told students they will make it their goal to bring jobs to the city so that students do not feel that they have to leave after graduation.
"Storm water management, bioinnovation, digital medial platforms, renewable energy advanced manufacturing. We have to play to our strengths," Cantrell said.
"You do your part," Charbonnet said to the students in the crowd, "You study. You graduate! I'll do my part and I'll go bring the businesses here so you can have great opportunities."
There was no political sparring at Tuesday's forum, but with roughly four weeks to go, the criticisms are becoming sharper. Charbonnet's camp recently attacked Cantrell's record on charter schools after Hurricane Katrina.
"I have to rise above that. I know that I have a demonstrative track record of getting things done. I do not want to make this (the campaign) into an Atlanta Housewives...we're tired of that! I think it's about celebrating the history that we've already experienced. With two intelligent women vying for the office of mayor in the city," Cantrell said.
Those who attended the forum say having this event on a college campus helps them feel like their vote counts.
"I definitely respect both sides and I appreciate the things that they're doing," Kourtney Birks, Dillard University student said.
"I think they're both making an effort to reach out to kids my own age, because we're like the next voting generation," Elizabeth Garcia, Tulane student said.
According to the Louisiana Secretary of State's website, Orleans Parish voters between the ages of 18-35 make up 83,000 of the 257,768 registered voters.