Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Jeff Landry lays out his plans for the transition into the Louisiana governor’s position

by Associated Press

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Fresh off an earlier-than-expected victory in Louisiana’s gubernatorial race, Republican Gov.-elect Jeff Landry began to lay out his plans for the transition into the state’s highest position, noting, “We are going to be doing things different.”

Landry, who is replacing term-limited Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, said during a press conference Wednesday that his immediate policy focuses are on the state’s education, economy and high crime rate. Additionally, the Republican said he plans to call a special session to address crime within the first month or week after he is inaugurated in January.

Landry, a conservative who is backed by former President Donald Trump, won the gubernatorial election earlier this month — holding off a crowded field of candidates and avoiding a runoff, winning outright after garnering more than half of the votes.

The win is a major victory for the GOP as they reclaim the governor’s mansion for the first time in eight years.

“The state wasn’t (broken) overnight and we’re not going to fix it overnight,” Landry said during Wednesday’s press conference about his transition into office. “We want to make sure that what we do is a very thorough process… we’ve got a little extra time and we’re going to use that to our advantage to make sure that we get it right for the people of our state.”

While Landry said he promises a successful transition, he also said that this transition process would differ from years past.

“We’re going to be doing things different in the way past administrations have done the transition, and certainly the way that they have governed,” Landry said. “The whole way of doing this, for the most part, is out the door. Today is a new day for Louisiana.”

Among the initial changes that Landry announced was the location of where the transition team will convene its meetings. Traditionally the team meets at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, but this year it will be moving to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Landry — who grew up outside of Lafayette and attended the university there — said that he believes it is a more accessible area for people around the state.

Additionally, Landry announced who he has picked to lead his transition; Ralph Abraham, a former Republican U.S. representative; Sharon Landry, Jeff Landry’s wife and future First Lady; Eddie Rispone, a 2019 Louisiana Republican gubernatorial candidate who lost to Gov. Edwards; Lane Grigsby, a business leader and major Republican donor; Shane Guidry, the CEO of Harvey Gulf International Marine and longtime Landry ally; Tim Hardy, a Baton Rouge environmental law attorney; Steve Orlando, a Lafayette businessman and philanthropist; and Kyle Ruckert, Landry’s chief political adviser who will direct the team.

Landry has served as the state’s attorney general for eight years. During his time in office, he has championed conservative policy positions. The Republican has been in the spotlight over his involvement and staunch support of Louisiana laws that have drawn much debate, including banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths and the state’s near-total abortion ban that doesn’t have exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

He has also repeatedly put Louisiana in national fights, including over President Joe Biden’s policies that limit oil and gas production and COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

While Landry has repeatedly clashed with Edwards over matters in the state — including LGBTQ rights, state finances and the death penalty — he said the governor has been “extremely gracious in ensuring us that the transition is going to be smooth.”

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