From all of us here at CABL we offer our congratulations to Governor John Bel Edwards for his re-election and to all the incumbent and new legislators who will assemble at the Capitol next year to begin a new term. We wish them all the very best and look forward to working with them over the next four years.
The question is, what will those next four years look like? Right now, it’s difficult to say. With a Democrat in the governor’s office and a more Republican and more conservative Legislature, things might not look encouraging on paper. To many, that will seem a formula for gridlock.
But we’re going to take the more optimistic approach. The governor’s re-election suggests that Louisiana voters are not obsessed with party, at least not at the state level, and they did not deliberately vote for four years of stalemate.
Indeed, as we travelled the state as part of our RESET Louisiana initiative with the Public Affairs Research Council and the Committee of 100, the message we heard was not “let’s do nothing.” Voters want to see action on roads, they understand the need to invest in early education and higher education, and they are sick and tired of being 50th.
No, they didn’t go to the polls to elect people who won’t get anything done. They want to see progress.
So that’s the silver lining going forward that we see. Four years of political fighting just for the sake of fighting gets us nowhere. Certainly, there are differences in the philosophy of the governor and many in the Legislature. But there are areas of common ground, too, and citizens expect our leaders to find it.
We hope they will.
As Thanksgiving approaches, we can all be thankful that we live in a place where we can have differences of opinion, but have elections to help chart the direction we want to go. And we can be hopeful that those we elect will look to the greater good and what’s best for the people of our state.
The elections are over and there’s no value anymore to looking back. It’s now time for all sides to come together to figure out how we are going to move Louisiana forward.