We congratulate East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden on winning a third term Tuesday.
Holden’s victory was decisive. He captured 60 percent of the vote, with his nearest challenger, Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Walker, receiving 34 percent of the vote, according to complete but unofficial returns.
Holden’s victory is a testament to his political skill and his popularity among many voters of the parish. Holden can use that political capital to do much good for Baton Rouge, but he won’t be able to accomplish very much if he doesn’t work closely with his fellow elected officials.
Walker was once an ally of the mayor, but strained relations between Holden and the Metro Council soured that relationship. We’ve been disappointed on several occasions by Holden’s apparent unwillingness to give members of the Metro Council timely and detailed information about important city-parish matters. That intransigence has frustrated the ability of the mayor and Metro Council to work together for the good of the city. Holden has also sparred — we think needlessly — with other city-parish leaders, including East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.
Fresh from an election victory, and with the Metro Council poised to get a few new faces, Holden has an excellent opportunity to hit the reset button on his administration.
We were heartened by Holden’s victory speech on Tuesday, in which he called on residents to get involved in solving the parish’s problems. The mayor seemed to acknowledge that he’ll need collaboration to move the parish forward. That collaboration cannot develop without transparency, civil discourse and a spirit of constructive compromise by everyone in parish government.
Baton Rouge faces many challenges, including crime and infrastructure problems, and many opportunities, too. We wish Holden well in his third term. If he succeeds, everyone in the parish will benefit.