In just over a week early voting will start in the state of Louisiana for state wide office and the legislature. Over the last few years I’ve shared with you who I believed would best serve the interest of black communities around the state. I do this because in mainstream media the majority of the people who influence elections aren’t from the same zip codes as the base of the democratic party. Black voters make up 33% of the state of Louisiana, only Mississippi has a higher percentage of black voters. With that large of an impact on the election it is important that we engage and not waste the power of our vote.
Over the years I’ve been critical of Governor Edwards and still I have philosophical disagreements with him on several major issues. I am not the type of person to give blind loyalty. Too often in the black community we believe if we challenge someone that we don’t support them, when that simply is not true. I endorsed Governor Edwards in 2015 and I’m doing so again today. This election is too important to yield power over to Trump supporting conservatives who will implement failed policies that we’ve seen before.
As many of you know, I’m running for State Senate District 15 and if we are to be successful at transforming Senate 15 it requires having a governor we can work with to create change. I won’t mention Gov. Edwards opponents by name because they’re spending enough money to advertise themselves, but we can’t afford either of them to become governor. One has no plan and talks about putting bumper stickers on the back of his truck and supporting Trump. The other, well he’s been in congress rubber stamping bigotry by supporting Trumps horrible policies. Gov. Edwards however, was fixing the states budget after it was trashed by his predecessor.
Gov. Edwards has had some pretty difficult situations to manage as well. In 2016 our state faced two major flooding events, national protest, and a host of situations that would’ve tanked the average administration. What we saw in those moments is someone who appears to care about the well-being of the citizens of this state. While I have disagreed with Gov. Edwards on some issues, I have to give credit to his compassionate leadership during tough times. His willingness to hire African Americans in key leadership positions, and commitment to a fiscal future that we can build on.
I want to encourage every black voter to not only vote for Governor Edwards, but to tell 5 or 6 of your friends to vote for him too and make sure that they do. The alternatives are far too great a risk for us. My commitment to us, is to work with the governor to advance our state into a more progressive community. Prioritizing the growth of minority businesses, and investing in disinvested communities will be areas I believe the governor and I can expand his tent and impact the lives of his base in a more meaningful way. JBE’s support for criminal justice reform, medicaid expansion, and his push for fiscal stability cannot be overlooked. That also can’t be where we stop, it is a good starting point for conversations about equity and inclusion not just in state appointments but in contract opportunities. A starting point to bring all voices to the table to heal our state and take us from ranking last to most improved.
For every voter elections impact the quality of life for the voter and their family. Black voters in particular have too much at stake not to vote. The criminal justice reforms made under Edwards, will be rolled back under republican leadership. This means more black men and women separated from their families and there are constant reminders of the impact mass incarceration in communities all over our state.
I will work to help the governor be more progressive in his last term as governor, but we’ve got to get him re-elected first. On Election Day October 12th, black voters have one choice for Governor if we want to continue to see our people and state progress — John Bel Edwards.