With State Races Set, Now It’s Time to Focus

Qualifying has ended, there is still a little shuffling going on in some races, but for the most part now we know who will be on the ballot for state elections this fall. That means attention should turn to what the candidates are saying about the issues that are most important for the future of our state.

This is an important election year. We know we will elect a new governor, many new legislators, several statewide elected officials, and voters will be deciding the fate of constitutional amendments. It’s hard to pay attention to all of that when kids are back at school, the weather is changing, and football is back in action. But we must.

CABL is looking forward to a busy election season and we hope to provide voters as much nonpartisan information about issues as we can. We started early, working with our partners the Public Affairs Research Council and the Committee of 100 for Economic Development on an initiative we call RESET Louisiana’s Future.

Collectively, our organizations produced a strong body of research and information on issues we believe are critical for moving our state forward:

  • Education (including early childhood, K-12, postsecondary, and workforce)
  • State fiscal policies (including taxes, budget, pensions, and the constitution)
  • Infrastructure (including roads, bridges, ports, broadband, water systems, and coastal)
  • Public safety

These are not the only things of importance, but we believe they are foundational in the sense that they touch on so many issues that are holding our state back. We are currently in the process of reaching out to legislative and gubernatorial candidates to discuss these issues with them and making all our information available to the public on our website at www.reset-louisiana.com.

We are also working with Louisiana Public Broadcasting on a series of reports exploring many of these issues in a weeks-long series on their news magazine “Louisiana: The State We’re In.” It airs Fridays at 7:00 p.m. and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. and is also available for streaming. The first overview of the issues begins August 18. CABL will also be partnering with LPB on a debate in the governor’s race which will be broadcast statewide on September 28 at 7:00 p.m.

CABL has always been focused on the notion that data is important, and as we consider changes in public policies, we should use data in smart ways to help us make our decisions. As part of that, we are about to publish an updated version of some of our previous data work that tracks how Louisiana is doing using a comprehensive list of 35 indicators that help measure the wellbeing of our state. We hope to use this, once again, to raise awareness of the challenges we face, track what progress we are making, and suggest areas where the state should focus to get us off the bottom of so many bad lists.

Finally, it’s once again time to consider making changes to our state constitution. This fall there are eight amendments on the ballot, and we will be releasing our analysis and recommendations on those to help voters understand what’s at stake so they can make informed decisions.

So, as we look forward to the change in the season and all the activities that come with that, we must also be mindful of our civic responsibilities. Louisiana is not where we want it to be in many areas. We can do better, and we must do better. That is a message that we as voters need to send to candidates and those who want to lead us need to hear.

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