The first question asked at Wednesday night’s debate was about the hiring and firing of former Governor Edwards’ Deputy Chief of Staff Johnny Anderson, and his sexual harassment scandal.

Anderson was accused of sexual harassment by six women at Southern University before he was hired into the Edwards Administration. Edwards said before he was hired, Anderson was cleared.

“I received recommendations from all over the state of Louisiana from faith-based leaders, community leaders, individuals who were holding elective office, all of whom spoke highly of Mr. Anderson as being a good public servant,” said Edwards.

Former Edwards employee Juanita Washington accused Anderson of sexual harassment and assault during his time in the Administration. Anderson resigned, but Edwards says that’s not the full story.

“He resigned because we told him that either he resigned in that meeting or he would be fired at it’s conclusion,” said Edwards.

Washington is now suing Edwards for access to documents, emails, and texts related to Anderson’s tenure, saying the Governor covered up the accusations.

Edwards says the office has a zero-tolerance policy for harassment, and the incident inspired a series of sexual harassment reforms in state offices.

“I then turned my sights on sex harassment policies throughout the state of Louisiana, and made sure that we strengthened those and made them uniform,” said Edwards.