Louisiana has fallen behind other states that, not so long ago, our state surpassed. The following illustrates two of the reasons. During the last regular session, a Koch brothers organization once again played a role in Louisiana's future by working to defeat the road tax. How do the Koch brothers know what is best for Louisiana? The brothers, who are supporters of the open borders agenda, live in Kansas. They don't travel the state's roadways or encounter traffic congestion in our major cities. The brothers must recognize the fact that good roads help a state's economic development efforts. If the brothers lived here, they would have a different opinion as to what Louisiana's priorities should be.

Special interest groups like the Koch brothers organization exercise great influence over the affairs of this state. The wining, dining and political contributions given by special interest to lawmakers influence a number of legislative decisions that are not in the best interest of the state's future. State Rep. Kenny Havard outlined the problem: "When you turn around and look at the back row (in the House Chamber) there's no one there from your district. It's just a bunch of special interest groups ... all trying to hold onto their kingdom."

A veteran lobbyist opines that partisan politics played a role in the defeat of the road tax. He believes that a group of House Republicans voted to defeat the tax in order to deny the Democrat governor a legislative victory. If true, these House members put party loyalty ahead of the welfare of the Louisiana families who are forced to travel the state's crumbling, soon to be unsafe, roads and bridges.

When Mike Foster was governor and visionary leaders like Steve Scalise were in the Legislature Louisiana was on the rise. Now our state — blessed with natural resources and a great location — is ranked last with legislators in key positions who have an "other states can but we can't do it" mentality. The good, hardworking people of Louisiana deserve better. When your state is last, your Legislature can't afford to play petty partisan politics or take the advice of wealthy special interest groups who are only out to help themselves,

Not the state.

There are still some men and women in the Legislature who have the will and the ability to pull our state out of the cellar. It is time for them to come forward and assume leadership positions before the cellar becomes Louisiana's permanent position.

Howard Franques

retired lawyer