Congratulations to all the candidates who not only won their races in the recent primary, but to everyone who chose to offer themselves for public service. In these times, that is becoming a more and more difficult thing to do and CABL appreciates the willingness of so many to serve our state.
But now, after months of campaigning, the attention of voters turns to the sprint toward the runoff election on November 16. Sadly, runoffs don’t often lend themselves to the most statesmanlike conduct from candidates. It’s the time when the public debates of the early months usually turn into the political attacks of the home stretch. That’s unfortunate.
As voters we can’t do much about that, but we can continue to tell the candidates about the issues we think are important and ask them for answers about what they will do if elected. The Advocate, this week, said it well when talking about the election for governor. “That race needs to pivot to the future of Louisiana. We expect a lot of rhetoric, but real commitments are what voters need to hear.”
We couldn’t agree more. One thing that’s been missing is an aspirational view of what Louisiana can and should be for the future. We know where we are and we know we should rank higher than we do in too many indicators of quality of life. And while none of us are naïve enough to think we can get there overnight, it’s not too much to ask those who seek to lead us what their plan is for moving us ahead.
We have tried to offer some ideas through our nonpartisan RESET Louisiana initiative in collaboration with the Public Affairs Research Council and the Committee of 100 for Economic Development. There we focus on four major issue areas: education, state fiscal policies, infrastructure, and criminal justice reform. These aren’t the only things that are important to our state, but they are things where, if we address them, we can move the needle in the right direction.
CABL is also partnering once again with Louisiana Public Broadcasting to host another gubernatorial debate for the runoff. It’s scheduled for the evening of October 30. In this debate we are planning to go into a good deal of depth in seven major issue areas, and we hope both of the candidates will choose to participate.
As for the rest of us, we as voters should continue to do our part. We can’t stop the negative campaigning, but we can tell the candidates which issues we think are important for moving Louisiana forward.