Bill Cassidy 072420

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, addressed the press after qualifying to run for reelection on Friday, July 24, 2020.

Here are endorsements of The Times-Picayune in important political races in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area. There is also an important tax renewal in Jefferson Parish. We encourage voters to cast an informed ballot on Nov. 3, or earlier if possible; early voting starts Oct. 16 to provide safety protocols in place for the election.

U.S. Senate: Bill Cassidy

A physician and former state senator, Cassidy is a serious legislator grappling with complex legislative issues, and he commands respect even from those who do not always agree with his views. His first term has seen many victories for Louisiana-specific issues, although he was disappointed in efforts to build a GOP alternative to the Affordable Care Act. He deserves a second term.

U.S. Congress: Steve Scalise

The second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House, Steve Scalise is an effective legislator whose party position makes him a player in debates over Louisiana-specific issues. His influence has been critical on things like renewal of flood insurance policies, or hurricane relief negotiations — the latter still a live issue after Hurricane Katrina, because the state faces a heavy matching grant cost for New Orleans area flood control projects. Scalise courageously battled from injuries in a 2017 shooting; the personal regard for his comeback crosses partisan and geographic lines in the House. We urge voters in his largely suburban district to return him to the House.

U.S. Congress: Cedric Richmond

The other half of Congress’ odd couple, with his longtime friend Scalise, is Cedric Richmond, the Democrat seeking reelection to his sprawling district that runs from New Orleans to north Baton Rouge. Richmond has been most often in the news because of his high-profile role in the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden. He is an influential legislator in his own right. With Louisiana issues from flood insurance to hurricane relief to health care likely to be debated in the next Congress, his reelection is obviously in the state’s interest — even if a possible new president may want him in another role.

Public Service Commission: Eric Skrmetta

Seeking a third six-year term, because of term limits Eric Skrmetta would serve his final stint on the important five-member commission that regulates utility rates and much more for most of the state of Louisiana, although not the city because utility regulation within New Orleans is handled by the New Orleans City Council. Skrmetta has a solid pro-business record and demonstrates a command of the issues that deserves respect.

Jefferson Parish: inspector general renewal — Yes

The 0.5 mill property tax renewal for the office of inspector general, a watchdog over public spending in the parish, should be approved by voters. It funds the office and the Ethics Board for the parish.

Our Views: A concert of democracy, voting in arenas will be safer and saner this year