POSTED: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 5:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 5:34pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Representatives from both sides of the St. George debate are challenging one another to an open debate, as incorporation supporters maintain that their support continues to grow.
Just a few months ago Michael K. Freeman Jr. picked a side and joined the St. George incorporation movement.
“The idea of a better public school system. My kids go to private school but I would like for the other kids to have the opportunity to go to a better school," explained Freeman, when asked about his motivation.
Now he's one of more than 10,000 people who have signed a petition in support of incorporating the city.
"I think I went out on my own and got about 90 signatures," shared Freeman.
“We’re a little over 10,000 on our signature count which puts us over half of what we need to have but right at half of what we want to have," added Lionel Rainey, spokesman for the movement.
Incorporation spokesman Lionel Rainey said the number of supporters continues to grow, especially when their opposition speaks out against them.
“When you look at that scandal with the East Baton Rouge school system, when you look at the remarks the mayor made, when you look at the coup attempt the metro council tried with the St. George fire department, when you have things like that happen it drives more people to us," said Rainey.
Metro councilman John Delgado is helping to lead the charge against the incorporation. Both sides were invited to speak at a special luncheon, but St. George supporters couldn't make it
"I was a little disappointed when Mr. browning couldn't make it, but he's a business owner, he has to work. Mr. Yates is a fireman and he has to work. But I am really surprised that Mr. Rainey, who is a spokesman, couldn't come and speak," said Delgado, “There's a lot of unanswered questions right now that need to be posed because this is going to have such an impact on everybody's lives."
St. George supporters believe at the rate they're going, the issue will be decided on the special ballot very soon.
"I certainly hope so, we would love to have this issue on the ballot for this year's congressional race," said Rainey.
Both Rainey and Delgado have expressed their desire to take on the other side in a public debate.