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Hear from the candidates for La State Senate District 36

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BOSSIER PARISH, La (KTAL/KMSS) – Three candidates are in the race for State Senate District 36 which includes parts of Bossier, Webster, and Bienville parishes. Each candidate shared why they want your vote.

State Senator Ryan Gatti (R) is looking to be re-elected for his second term.

“I’m going to make it my mission to change the structure of how we support businesses in our state and we really need to fight for our Christian values,” said Gatti said.

His opponents include Republican Robert Mills who is a retired businessman from the oil and gas industry.

“People that need representation, help from the government, freedom from the government and we’re going to have to figure out how these rural areas can maintain the jobs they’ve got and hopefully increase their employment,” Mills said.

Along with Democrat Mattie Preston who is an ordained minister and substitute teacher in Webster Parish.

“I also want relief from high taxes. Women earn 80 cents on the dollar whereas men earn a dollar on the dollar. I believe it’s important that we reach a point where we can increase the minimum wage but still not bankrupt small businesses,” Preston said.

Each said their first priority is to lower auto insurance rates.

“Insurance is out of hand. In 2016, 2017 I drafted some pretty concise bills to lower insurance premiums. Those bills were either killed by trial lawyers or big insurance,” Gatti said.

“Our automobile insurance is horribly high. It’s second-highest in the nation,” Mills said.

“There are people struggling to pay their insurance premiums,” Preston said.

Gatti is the incumbent Republican but many from his own party have endorsed Mills instead.

“Three years ago I was told that even if they had to move someone into my district they were going to move him in and spend millions of dollars ruining my name. I thought no they won’t do that and here we are. Robert has moved from Southern Trace into Bossier,” Gatti said.

Mills said his campaign is nothing personal against Gatti and he wanted to retire in Bossier Parish.

“North Bossier has been the faster-growing part of Louisiana so there’s nothing about me deciding to retire moving to north Bossier and be a resident long enough to run for public office. Sounds like a good idea and I don’t apologize to anyone for that,” Mills said.

While Preston as the lone Democrat said she’s not totally loyal to any party.

“But I am loyal to the welfare of the people and I’m loyal to God’s ways,” Preston said.

Gatti said he’s a Christian conservative who does not bend to special interest groups who say he’s too close to the Governor.

“I’ve had people say Ryan I like the fact that you shut down the abortion clinic, I love what you did with foster kids, I love that you finally got us the base entrance after 30 years, I love what you’ve done with the firemen and policemen helping them with PTSD to make sure they can get the counseling they need immediately. But since you’re friends with AB and C… I can’t vote for you,” Gatti said.

Voters will decide which direction to go on October 12 for the primary election day.

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