Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
According to national political pundits, there is a revolution going on all over America. Voters are in a rebellion mode with little confidence in the political leadership at both the national and state levels. Being an incumbent politician is no longer a badge of honor. A poll released recently and sponsored by the Washington Post and ABC news finds that “72% of Americans believe that politicians cannot be trusted and two thirds think the country’s political system is dysfunctional.
Current Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin is under attack by the Louisiana Democratic Party that is charging Louisiana’s elections are vulnerable to election fraud. The party ‘s recent statement reads: “Louisiana is one of the most vulnerable states for election interference in the nation because Republican Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has failed to address cybersecurity issues and has kept our out-dated voting machines at risk.”
Is there any truth to such charges? I write with some knowledge of the voting system here in the Bayou State having served as Secretary of State for eight years. I have found little merit to such accusations. The current system works as well as any other state in the nation.
President Trump stirred up a hornet’s nest recently as he proposed that the U.S. try to buy Greenland. Many political observers rolled their eyes. Buy another country? Has the Prez thrown out another wacky suggestion and is this really a good idea? Actually, yes. America has been acquiring land from other nations for centuries. And often, Louisiana has been right in the mix.
When qualifications for elections in Louisiana concluded recently, only two of the seven statewide officials are facing major and well-funded opposition. Incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards faces eight challengers including five republicans. But only two GOP candidates are considered serious; Congressman Ralph Abraham from Northeast Louisiana and Baton Rouge businessman Eddie Rispone.
A voter would think that former Governor Bobby Jindal is running again in the coming fall elections. Rarely does current Gov. John Bel Edwards make a speech where he does not lay all the state’s financial woes at the feet of Jindal. Why has Jindal become such a political punching bag with such a high negative among Louisiana voters?
Qualifications have ended and it’s now a sprint to election day. So what top issues should the candidates for governor and the legislature talk about in the coming weeks? There is an abyss of a state with massive fiscal problems, an educational system that is dysfunctional, a healthcare system that needs a major overhauling, a highway system that has been neglected for years…get the picture?
How do you put a dollar value on the worth of a public official? Attorneys working full time for the LSU Health Sciences Center are asking to be paid more than $400,000 a year. So how do you justify such large increases? How about this idea? Shouldn’t receiving such large salaries be based on results?
LSU football coach Ed Orgeron will pocket some four million dollars this year, making him one of the highest-paid football coaches in the nation. He received such an enormous salary package based on results. It’s the old adage that you get what you pay for, and with Orgeron, LSU ended the season with a top ten ranking.
Grandparents visiting day took me to Portland, Maine this past weekend to spend time with my two oldest grandsons. The highlight of the trip was of course hanging out with the boys and attending their various camp activities. But second on my list was to partake and enjoy Maine seafood, particularly the bountiful supply of lobster. Now coming from the Bayou State with the best seafood in the nation, my standards are high. And with all due respect to the fine folks in Maine, I was disappointed.
Being a moderate democrat in Louisiana has become a real labor of love today, The Louisiana Democratic Party is becoming more and more irrelevant in the Bayou State. Party officials did itself a real disservice two years ago when it tried to wipe out the memory of the state’s two most important figures.
If ever there were any two individuals who should be regularly honored and commemorated in Louisiana history, there should be doubt that the two should be Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. And for many years, the Louisiana Democratic Party did honor both American heroes by hosting an annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner as a yearly fundraiser. Democrats held similar events across the country. And for good reason.
It’s getting close to redistricting time for legislators in Louisiana. By federal law, all election districts must be reapportioned every 10 years to reflect the latest census figures. But should legislators, who have a vested interest in how the redistricting lines are drawn, actually do the drawing?