Saturday, April 20, 2024

Outgoing Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards won’t rule out another run for office

by BIZ Magazine

By Piper Hutchinson, Louisiana Illuminator

At his final press conference Monday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards indicated he’s not retiring completely from politics at the end of his term, leaving open the possibility for another run for public office.

“Obviously, I won’t be the governor this time next month, but I believe that I have some things that I can say and something things I’m going to continue on participating in, political and otherwise,” Edwards told reporters.

While the two-term governor said he currently doesn’t have any intentions of running for office again, he said he loves the state too much to rule it out. The Louisiana Constitution allows governor’s to serve more than two terms as long as no more than two are consecutive.

“I just don’t say never because you don’t know what the situation will be,” Edwards said. “Should my wife bless it and it is warranted, then I would do that.”

Edwards said he is pulling for Gov.-elect Jeff Landry to do a good job.

At his final press conference, Edwards was flanked by his cabinet. After concluding their final meeting, the governor addressed the highs and lows of his eight years in office.

As he usually does when speaks about his legacy, Edwards started with Medicaid expansion, his first act as governor.

“Now more than a half million working Louisianans have access to health care who otherwise wouldn’t,” Edwards said.

Edwards also highlighted the billions of dollars in reserve accounts and surplus Landry will inherit, remarking how different it is from the massive deficit he inherited. A series of teacher pay raises were also among what Edwards listed as his proudest accomplishments.

As far as regrets go, Edwards said he wished he had been able to raise the state minimum wage from $7.25 and address the gender pay gap. He was also disappointed the legislature had to raise the state sales tax to shore up Louisiana’s fiscal standing.

“The good news is we have the least regressive sales tax in the country because it doesn’t apply to groceries, it doesn’t apply to pharmaceutical drugs, and it doesn’t apply for residential utilities,” Edwards said. “But having said that, I wish we could have done that differently.”

“But end of the day, that was a compromise,” Edwards added.

Edwards term officially ends Jan. 8, 2024, when Gov.-elect Jeff Landry is sworn in. He plans to return home to Amite and eventually resume his law practice.

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