Monday, May 27, 2024

LaRose: Louisiana’s down ballot statewide races require voters’ due diligence

by BIZ Magazine

There are a few months left before qualifying for this fall’s elections, but the stage appears set for historical turnover among Louisiana’s statewide officials. Out of the seven seats up for grabs, at least five will have new officeholders. Two incumbents have decided not to run for re-election, and two others want to move to the governor’s mansion, who’s current occupant is term-limited

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Mike Strain are expected to be the only static figures on the state scene come 2024. We’ve looked back at ballots from the past 50 years and couldn’t find a changing of the guard in Louisiana nearly as sweeping as the one that will take place in January.   

What this means for voters is a steep learning curve to figure out where candidates stand on matters of importance for the respective offices they seek. This will require more than just a cursory effort because you can count on these campaigns to prod political sore spots in order to drum up name recognition.

Quick, name one of the candidates running for state treasurer. Can’t do it? You’re far from alone.

The concern is that these office seekers — including the crew running for governor — won’t be pressed hard enough to define their platforms. What I fear you’ll hear instead are platitudes that attempt to stir emotion rather than logic.

Sure, some candidates promise to be tough on crime, promote economic development and put parents first in education. But exactly how are they going to do this? And more importantly, why is it so important that they insert government into more aspects of our daily lives.

Furthermore, wouldn’t it be better if the attorney general was engaged in fighting actual crime in Louisiana rather than spending precious state resources to decide what books are suitable for public library shelves? What’s next? Who the secretary of state thinks will end up being picked on “The Bachelor?” Seems more relevant, actually. 

Which reminds me to say thank you, Dr. Strain, for staying out of the debate over “Pride Puppy.” I’m pretty sure the fate of a children’s book won’t harshly impact the outlook for hog futures. While I’m at it, smart move, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, to steer clear of sharing your views on anti-transgender proposals; everyone’s auto and property premiums are high, no matter what pronouns they prefer.

At the Illuminator, we’ve made it a priority to provide issue-driven coverage of the upcoming fall elections, from governor on down the ballot. As readers, we hope you hold us to that promise — and hold candidates to an even higher standard.

Greg LaRose is editor of the Louisiana Illuminator and has covered news for more than 30 years in Louisiana

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