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Monday, October 2nd, 2023

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


 The Louisiana gubernatorial election is less than two weeks away with six major candidates for governor showering television stations across the state with TV ads. One candidate is a democrat and the other five are all Republicans. Here’s what looks to happen.

The Republican Party has been staunchly supportive of the Bayou State’s convoluted open primary, often referred to as a jungle primary. All the candidates run at the same time, and all together. In most states throughout the country, Republicans have their own separate primary, and so do the Democrats. If a candidate in either party primary does not get a majority, then there is a runoff. Two Republicans in one primary and two Democrats in another.  But not so in Louisiana.

Democrat Shawn Wilson, former, former secretary at the Louisiana Department of transportation, is the only major Democrat running. As an African American, he should garner a large black vote as well as numerous Democrats across the state.  That should position him to get close to 30% of the vote, and that number gets him into the runoff.

In the Republican field, leading the polls by a wide margin is Attorney General Jeff Landry, who has been running for the job for a number of years. Landry has raised more than $12 million, far more than any other candidate in the race. And he has locked up nearly every Republican endorsement that can be acquired.  At this stage, with so few days left, it’s hard to imagine Landry not also being a shoe in for the other runoff spot.

As far as voters picking a candidate on issues, they really have no choice. Not one candidate has been specific on what they will do if they are elected. All the candidates are for being tough on crime. But no specifics. Are they for curfews of young kids under 16 being off the streets by midnight? Many crimes, including murder, are committed in early morning hours by kids as young as 13 years old and during early morning hours.  Many other states are instilling curfews. New Orleans and Baton Rouge are listed as two of the most dangerous cities in America. Will the next governor call out the National Guard in order into protect crime ridden neighborhoods?

How about specifics on insurance reform. Well, the next governor get into the nitty-gritty of insurance changes, or just leave the whole issue alone as he have all previous governors?  Will the state police be ordered to make driver safety a priority?  Up until now, the vast majority of accidents are handled by local sheriff’s offices. Let’s face it, Louisiana has a large number of lousy drivers. What’s the next governor going to do to instill driver safety? And how about asking other Gulf Coast governors to get together on some type of a catastrophic insurance protection program? I see the new insurance commissioner is called for getting the southern states together to develop a regional insurance program that can lower insurance costs for Louisiana policyholders. What’s the next governor’s position on this vital but controversial issue?

What’s their stance on funding early childhood education? The last few legislatures have financed only a pittance. Are you for vouchers to let parents choose what school they want their child to attend? And why has Mississippi jumped from the very bottom to the middle of states across the nation when it comes educational reform? Can you explain what Mississippi is doing right? Will you follow their lead?  What about colleges?  Do we have too many? LSU is ranked 199 in the nation by US News and World Report. What are your plans to improve the overall quality of higher education?

I am quite sensitive personally to a candidate for the state’s highest office putting together a detailed plan of his or her priorities and concerns. I offered a 187-page specific program what I ran for governor in 1987. There is no such plan or anything close that has      been offered by any current candidate for governor. So candidates, don’t talk to us in song titles. Get extremely specific as what you will do to improve the quality of life in the Bayou state.  That’s what voters are looking for.

Peace and Justice

Jim Brown

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.






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