Political candidates meet voters, trade words at annual Labor Day picnic

Bill Capo talks about an annual labor union picnic that's a popular stop for political candidates.

NEW ORLEANS -- There was a good crowd at the AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic at City Park for the food and fellowship and the chance to meet candidates running for various offices.

During the annual picnic, candidates get a chance to address the crowd and introduce themselves.

"The only thing I got to say about my race for (Orleans Parish) Criminal Court, which is Frank Marullo's seat that's vacant right now -- I'm asking you (to) help me help you help others, all right?" Judge Paul Bonin implored the crowd.

Other candidates came running for Orleans Parish School Board positions.

"I know it's wet, but most of us are used to getting wet every day," said Nolan Marshall, who is running for re-election to the board.

Some candidates from races outside of Orleans Parish made appearances as well.

"Even with the rain, y'all still draw a crowd. That's important," said Kenner mayoral candidate Ben Zahn. "But I always appreciate the support of the AFL-CIO."

Even members of Congress showed up to the festivities.

"I am a proud member of a union family, and I just want to say thank you for the trust that you all have put in me," Congressman Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, said. "I'll continue work hard to make you proud, and we need to make sure that people understand that this election this year is for keeps."

And two U.S. Senate candidates traded barbed words.

"This lady down here, this woman, this Fayard in St. Tammany Parish, her spokesman said that labor doesn't count, it doesn't matter," said candidate Foster Campbell. "Well, it matters to me."

Candidate Caroline Fayard made sure to respond.

"I think the people that know me know that I work hard and I care very much about making sure people have collection action rights, that they're able to have a livable wage, that there is equal pay for equal work, and that we're able to have good quality jobs for folks, and that's what bunions and labor represents," said Fayard.

The campaigns will kick into high gear now, and voters get to make the final decision at the polls Nov. 8.

"I'm learning a lot today, I'm listening to them right there, and trying to make my choice," said one attendee.

In the U.S. Senate race, no one candidate is expected to get 50 percent of the vote in the 24-candidate field. A runoff is scheduled for Dec. 10.

(© 2016 WWL)


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