Who runs Louisiana? Special interest groups or the people?

With every passing election cycle to an ever greater extent, the gubernatorial and legislative races are being won by the candidates with the largest amount of special interest campaign money.

The more money that special interest groups give the successful candidates, the more power these groups exert over the affairs of state government.

In Louisiana, the “big money” special interest groups include but are not limited to: chemical and oil companies, insurance companies, trial lawyers, building contractors, highway contractors and a loose confederation of groups with a common motto, “We want a better state, but we don’t want to pay for it.”

It is obvious that, by engaging in politics, special interest groups are protecting their own self-interests. The problem is that too often their self-interests are not in the best interests of the people of Louisiana.

Lawmakers/minions who consistently vote the special interest party line are assured of ample re-election campaign funds.

An incumbent’s large campaign fund has the effect of discouraging potential challengers and consequently, most of the special interest incumbents are re-elected without opposition or with only token opposition.

On the other hand, those who defy special interest groups and, for example, vote to save the universities from financial ruin can expect a well-funded special interest opponent at re-election time.

Apathy is not keeping public spirited citizens from challenging incumbents. Money is. Apathy is not keeping voters from voting.

Rather, a realization that what the voters want doesn’t matter. For the past eight years, it has been what special interest groups want that counts in the Louisiana House and Senate and in the governor’s office.

When will voters get sick and tired of special interests dictating how Louisiana should be run and when will they vote to take back control of their state?

Howard Franques

retired lawyer

Lafayette