Why don't more good people with great ideas as to how to improve Louisiana run for state office?
We all know men and women who in conversation and during business presentations put forth innovative, visionary ideas that could launch our state out of last place. These potential leaders lament the state of our state but, for various reasons, don't want to go to Baton Rouge to lead a Louisiana renaissance.
Recently an area business website conducted a poll that asked, "Is Louisiana really the worst state?" In response, 40% of the voters answered, "Yes, drastic change is needed." Another 40% responded, "Maybe."
Let's face it. The Legislature has been in a tailspin for 12 years. Among the Legislature's failures were the $2 billion state deficit, the $700 million higher education cut and the seven special sessions in short order.
A factor in the Legislature's poor performance was the power that special interests have over lawmakers. The wining, dining and campaign financing of lawmakers by special interests was excessive and led to votes not in the state's best interest. For Louisiana to move forward, the power of the exploiters will have to be curtailed.
How can current lawmakers tell voters that they deserve reelection when doing their terms in office they let Louisiana fall into last place?
It takes guts to run for state office. You put your self-esteem on the line to be judged by voters. The prize: Once elected, you can improve the lives of 4 million Louisianians.
Getting elected and improving Louisiana are two different things. Some can't do both. When the state is last, lawmakers can't afford to play partisan politics. Good ideas to improve the state are shot down because they come from the rival party. This mindset will keep us in the cellar.
As to the governor's position, Gov. Huey Long brought Louisiana into the 20th Century with good roads, safe bridges, a charity hospital, free school books and a big investment in higher education. With a little luck, a person with Long's good qualities but without his failings will soon step forward to lead Louisiana out of last place and into the 21st century.
A Louisiana renaissance is possible. Louisiana people have a strong work ethic (top 5 for hours worked per week). All Louisiana has lacked is great political leadership in the Legislature and in the governor's office. Such leadership is possible if some of our best and brightest would run for state office. We have a duty to convince them to do so. A better future for Louisiana is at stake.