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Monday, October 30th, 2023

Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Remember the story about the dog chasing cars until he finally caught one? Now what does he do?  If ever there was a time in Louisiana history when Republican elected officials all over the state “finally caught one,” now is the time. It’s an opportunity for these officials to do what many voters say were needed to be done for years.  Simply put, it’s either time to put up or shut up.

The Bayou State has been at the bottom of the barrel on most national lists for a number of years. The prevailing view is that that nothing gets done because of all the bickering that goes on between Democrats and Republicans.  That excuse “won’t fly” no more. Republican elected officials now set the rules and control the whole ball game. Louisiana republicans have more control to get things done than at any time in the state’s history. In fact, combined on both the national state level, they have more opportunity than any other state in America.

At the state capital, every statewide office, and for that matter, most of the local offices, are now controlled by Republicans. That means newly elected Governor Jeff Landry will virtually have his will with the state legislature. Landry starts off with a $650 million surplus, and will have bountiful patronage to offer republican state legislators. He will no doubt tell legislators to follow the golden rule. He who has the gold makes the rules. And Landry starts off with plenty of political gold at his fingertips.

The new Governor will have his plate full in dealing with a lengthy host of state issues, many which I outlined in several past columns.  As former Attorney General, he’s the crime fighter. What specifically is he going to do now? Curfews, posting state troopers in high crime neighborhoods, using national guardsman, cracking down on wayward prosecutors and judges who often seem to be too lenient on repeated criminal offenders?

What about the cost of insurance? It’s become unaffordable in many parishes. Does he have a plan, or will he just chuck it to the insurance commissioner as most previous governors have done?  Landry now has well positioned congressional friends in Washington. What will he ask them to do for the state?

He will have the support of all the other statewide elected officials due to this overwhelming elected mandate.  So voters should expect not just song titles and buzzwords, but action on specific problems.

And here’s his ace in the hole. Just gander towards the nation’s capital and you will see that the Louisiana congressional delegation is hands-down, the most powerful in Washington.  It’s hard to believe that in the US House of Representatives, there is a Louisiana congressman who is only two heartbeats away from being president of the United States. Do I have to write this again? Northwest Louisiana congressman and newly elected House Speaker Mike Johnson is just two heartbeats away from the highest Office in the land.

But wait, it gets better. The number two Republican in the House, majority leader Steve Scalise, also comes from Louisiana. I’ll bet without checking that no State in the union ever had such a powerful one to punch. Little ole’ Louisiana is now the center of the political universe.

So, with all this political punch, let me tell you what Louisiana voters want.  From the Speaker and the House Majority Leader, the state needs hundreds of millions of dollars for better highways and bridges.  Get necessary funding for the federal flood insurance program, so that Louisiana policyholders don’t keep facing higher rates. See that there are no cuts in funding for Medicare.  Develop and fund a plan to stop coastal erosion across south Louisiana. The list to fund numerous other projects in the Bayou State is long.

It’s been the worst of times in Louisiana. But it could just be the best of times in the months to come.  Louisiana statewide officials from the governor on down, and a new, extremely powerful congressional delegation have a golden opportunity. Here’s hoping the state will see bountiful results. Louisiana voters are keeping their fingers crossed.

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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