Jim Brown Audio Player
Monday, February 27th, 2023
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
COMPETENCY TESTS FOR ALL LOUISIANA PUBLIC OFFICIALS!
Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, has announced her intention to run for the Republican presidential nomination. As part of her platform, she proposed that all candidates running for president who are over 75 years old take a mental competency test. My reaction? I think it’s a great idea.
But such a requirement should not be limited to just older candidates. We need to take it one step further and compel a test for all candidates running for public office. Why should only older candidates be tested? Now let me confess that I’m one of these old guys. I was in public office for 28 years, and yes, there could be a problem with an aging outlook towards offering solutions on public issues.
But what’s so special about youth, particularly if they have no governmental experience? The youngest governors we’ve had in Louisiana during the past 50 years were Bobby Jindal and Buddy Roemer. Did their youth proved to be valuable in their ability to govern? I’ll let you, dear reader, be the judge.
Rather than pontificating on the pros and cons of age versus youth, I would suggest it’s much more important to know just how knowledgeable candidates are on issues involving the particular office they seek. Does a candidate for sheriff in Louisiana know how to run a prison, have an educated background in how to deal with the growing opioid crisis, and how to train competent deputies so they are qualified to address a challenging criminal element in our state?
Does a candidate for assessor have both a financial and an appraisal background to deal with the ever-complicated evaluation of properties, both commercial and residential? Statewide candidates, young and old, need to convince voters that they are not asking for permission to undertake on the job training. Much too often, we elect candidates who have limited knowledge of the political office they seek. In my home parish of Concordia, a logging truck hauler was elected as the local coroner. Was he qualified to make medical decisions? In the statewide election this fall, candidates for governor, both young and old, should be called on to explain in some detail their knowledge and possible solutions to a number of challenging problems facing the state. Here is just a partial list.
Recent reports indicate that Louisiana’s combined state and local sales taxes are the highest in the nation. Should Louisiana require a flat tax and possibly doing away with the homestead exemption? What are their positions on these proposals to finance state government?
Louisiana has the highest insurance costs of any state in the country. Should we abolish the elected insurance commissioner, and let the governor be much more hands-on in dealing with insurance issues? The states with the lowest insurance costs appoint the insurance commissioner, and the governor is actively involved. What is the gubernatorial candidate’s proposals to reduce insurance costs?
How does the next governor deal with the lack of early childhood learning? Can he or she address the problem that a significant number of parents don’t encourage their kids to go to school, let alone do homework? How do you support the families that are really trying, and allow their kids not to attend failing schools?
Hey, we’re just getting warmed up here. There are so many other issues involving health, infrastructure, the environment, a trashy state, crime, I can go on and on. The bottom line is that competency is extremely important in electing the next governor, and all of our other public officials. Do we really care if they are young or old, as long as they can pursue a high standard in running the day to day operations of the respective office?
Election day is less than eight months away. Let’s hope Louisiana voters have the common sense to pick and choose those who represent them, irrespective of age. Holding all these candidates to a high standard of competency, young or old, is the best way to get the Bayou State off the bottom of the barrel. If we as voters do not strive to elect candidates with a knowledge of issues along with fresh ideas, then we only have our own selves to blame.
Peace and Justice
Jim Brown’s syndicated column appears each week in numerous newspapers throughout the nation and on websites worldwide. You can read all his past columns and see continuing updates at http://www.jimbrownla.com. You can also listen to his regular podcast at www.datelinelouisiana.com.