SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson has three challengers vying for his seat representing Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District, which includes all or parts of 15 parishes and stretches from the Louisiana-Arkansas border south to Beauregard Parish.
Fellow Republican Ben Gibson, of Bossier City, decided he wanted to enter the race a year ago. He is a newcomer to politics, a member of the Air Force and a part-time firefighter in Bossier City.
The other two challengers are Democrats. They are:
KSLA News 12′s Adria Goins had the opportunity to interview each candidate to find out why they were running and what changes they want to see in the district.
First, she asked Houston why he elected to run. He said he felt Johnson wasn’t being honest with constituents about how things were going throughout the district.
“I always heard everything’s wonderful, everything’s fine. I live here. So to hear people talk about how wonderful it is to live in my district and know the truth about my district, it’s like who’s going to talk about reality?
“We have to take away the narrative in our government that it’s left versus right," Houston continued. "We have to focus on our people. What do the people of District 4 need?”
Houston said his three main goals for District 4 would be police reform, fixing the educational system and creating more job opportunities.
“Anytime we see someone campaigning, they say jobs, jobs, jobs. But there in Caddo Parish, we lost GM. We lost Libbey Glass. We’re on the way to losing a lot more jobs.”
Johnson said he agrees with Houston on those being important goals but said his approach is much different.
“We have to broaden the pathway out of poverty. And the way you do that is to make the American dream more accessible to people," the congressman explained. "You institute and push policies in Washington that reduce taxes, reduce regulations and open up those doors of opportunity.”
As far as police reform, Johnson said there can be improvements that can be made while still respecting law enforcement.
“I don’t know a single law enforcement officer who doesn’t agree that we need some meaningful reform to make sense. But it’s absolutely important that we stand by our law enforcement and first responders.”
Gibson, the other newcomer in the congressional race, said he put his name on the ballot because he has seen firsthand the untapped resources across the district with many of the area’s military bases.
"With Barksdale and Fort Polk being in the district, there’s $5 billion in assets in those two bases. I’ve heard politicians talk a long time about doing stuff for Barksdale and Fort Polk and we haven’t seen any action.”
Johnson called Barksdale the “jewel of the area” but agreed the base is an underutilized resource. Just last week, Johnson — with the support of Sen. Bill Cassidy — sent a letter to the Defense Department asking to make Barksdale a testing site for 5G technology.
Trundle, the other Democrat challenging Johnson’s re-election bid, also doesn’t call himself a politician. He refers to himself as a regular working man.
But he will be the most seasoned challenger up against Johnson in the race. He earned 35% of the votes when he faced off with Johnson for the seat in 2018.
Trundle said he stance from two years ago is much the same.
“We’ve got 80 percent of us living paycheck to paycheck. And these rich lawyers get elected and go to Washington and only write laws that help other rich lawyers.
“We’ve had Johnson in the House for four years, and he hasn’t introduced a single bill that helps regular working people," Trundle continued. "In fact, he votes against them most of the time. He voted against the second stimulus package.”
Johnson said that his record speaks for itself and that it is easy to check his voting history.
“The record is the real thing that all candidates should be evaluated on. The record of what we do in Congress is very well known and easy to access.
“We do need an additional stimulus relief package. We needed it yesterday," the incumbent continued. "But it has to be targeted efficiently and effective. Dropping money out of helicopters and giving it to big blue states is not the way to do it. We’ll fight for that every single day.”
If no candidate wins outright Nov. 3, the race will be forced into a runoff Dec. 5.
Source: Louisiana secretary of state’s office