Flanked by his family, gubernatorial candidate Congressman Ralph Abraham made a campaign stop in Lake Charles Tuesday morning to meet with supporters ahead of President Donald Trump's rally here on Friday.

After thanking the crowd for attending, Abraham launched right into why Southwest Louisiana voters should choose him at the polls Saturday.

"We know now that when it rains, it floods," he said. "Our bridges are crumbling and I've been fighting tooth and nail for the I-10 bridge. You heard the president after he came to Hackberry last year to look at the LNG plant, he literally said after his 2020 re-election we will build the bridge. Well, we've got to have matching funds to do that and right now we don't have that."

Abraham said if he's elected, "those funds will be available and we can get that bridge."

He also touched on the safety of children and adults alike in the state as well as Medicaid reform and ridding the state of what he calls "frivolous lawsuits."

"All of those billboards on the interstate, they've got to go," he declared. "We've got to get these legacy lawsuits gone. We see what it has done to oil and gas; that's our umbilical cord, our lifeline. They are the economy that drives this part of the state, but also the northern part of the state. People used to come down here to get the land rig or the offshore job and now those jobs aren't available. So, the legacy lawsuits have got to go."

He said the state has become "so sue-happy" that businesses aren't coming.

"We've got businesses fighting to get out. I want businesses fighting to get in."

Following his speech, Abraham — a medical doctor who practiced in Mangham prior to turning to politics — took questions and comments from the audience.

Mary Smith, a senior sports medicine student at McNeese State University, said she attended to show her support to who she fondly referred to as "Doc."

"I grew up in Mangham, La., and Doc was my pediatrician," she said. "I used to spend a lot of time as a kid at their home because Doc's wife was my youth leader at church."

Smith said the fact that Abraham is "really not a politician" leaves her feeling hopeful for the future of our state.

"He thinks about the little guy," she said.

Lake Charles resident Glyn Bogard said he met Abraham through their service in the Civil Air Patrol.

"He connects with people and makes them feel important even if there are a lot more important people in the room," he said. "He always makes everyone feel special and he listens."

Abraham said he will join Trump at the Civic Center on Friday.

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