Public Service Commission Race
12:00 am
Mon October 1, 2012

PSC Candidates Differ on Campaign Finance, Agree on Policy

The two best-funded candidates for a slot on the Public Service Commission are defending their acceptance of campaign money from the companies they would regulate.

Like fellow Republican Erich Ponti, Scott Angelle says industry contributions make up just a small slice of his campaign's funding.

"I view that as an endorsement of me, not my endorsement of them," Angelle said at a candidate forum Monday.

But Democrat Forest Wright says taking any money from utilities would compromise a commissioner's ability to make the best decisions for consumers.

"If the election is being funded by a company who is coming back shortly looking for an increase on rates expecting to be given favorable treatment that is against the public interest," Wright said.

Republican contender Sarah Holliday and independent Greg Gaubert say they have also steered clear of industry contributions.

All five candidates for the 2nd District seat, which represents Baton Rouge, met at Monday's forum hosted by the Press Club.

When it comes to policy, the candidates agree that Louisiana lost an important opportunity to expand broadband access in rural parts of the state when Gov. Bobby Jindal passed up $90 million in federal funds.

And there is consensus that power companies should harden their infrastructure to prevent the kind of large scale outages caused by Hurricane Isaac, and Gustav, Rita, and Katrina before that.