Gov. John Bel Edwards made a reelection campaign stop in Lake Charles Tuesday as part of his statewide RV tour.

Edwards touted the significant strides the state has made in the hot topic arenas of the economics, education, health care and criminal justice reform since taking office in 2015.

“I’m excited about the state. People in the state of Louisiana know that we are much better off today than we were four years ago on every meaningful measure.”

Edwards inherited a deficit that exceeded $2 billion when he took office but said due to his administration’s reforms, Louisiana now has the largest economy in its history. He applauded the significant growth in Southwest Louisiana as well saying, “You’ve got it going on in Lake Charles.”

His term has given teacher and support staff pay raises for the first time in 10 years and expanded Medicaid to include 450,000 residents, many of whom have never had health coverage before. “Common sense and compassion, that’s what I think the hallmarks of our administration have been,” Edwards said.

He said his administration’s compassion extends to Louisiana’s children in foster care as evidenced through the recent passage of raising the age of eligibility to 21.

The state has also set records for the highest number of children adopted out of the system over the last three years.

Bi-partisan effort, Edwards said, has been the purposeful strength of his tenure as he has avoided playing into the political divisiveness displayed nationally. “We actually work together in Louisiana, and I insist as your governor that we’re going to have a civil political discourse. We’re not going to model the behavior to our children that they see on the TV. We’re all going to be Louisianians first,” he said.

He welcomed others of such a mind to take a seat at his table saying that his term has been the “definition of bipartisan.”

“Anybody who wants to sit at the table to put Louisiana first, I promise you, we can find common ground and we can build from there and develop a consensus.”

For residents of Southwest Louisiana, Edwards said he is committed to finding a resolution for the region’s Interstate 10 bridge woes. He is working with the local action coalition, legislative delegation and with “the congressional delegation with the Trump administration to identify every single dollar that is available for transportation infrastructure so that we can move that project forward.”

Election day is Oct. 12.

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