LIST OF ISSUES
Budget and Taxes
In years past, the Louisiana’s budget was uncertain and experienced almost a $3 billion deficit. This deficit crippled our educational system, health care system and drastically crippled economic development; while out of state companies reaped huge windfalls from the state. We have authored legislation to change this and ensure that are budget is more stable. Political rhetoric did not help fix the state’s budget issues, but a clear plan that treats everyone equally is where we started and we must continue to work together to find a permanent solution. Things are better, and getting better every day, and it’s time to embrace all the natural resources our state has been blessed with and the capital investments that can’t be replaced elsewhere so that we can negotiate with job creators and not give away the barn. We must place a priority on funding education so that we are producing a workforce that can excel in the jobs of the future and likewise stop the brain drain from our state.
Elementary Education Funding
We shouldn’t have to choose between bringing jobs to our state and making sure our kids are prepared for those jobs. Elementary education funding is paramount to our states continued growth and prosperity. We rank near the bottom in every study of children’s education attainment and that’s because we are also near the bottom in funding education. This year, we started to turn that around as we have increased the funding for the first time in 11 years and also gave our teachers and support workers a raise. Our teachers are more than babysitters – they light the path for kids future success and they deserve to be paid fairly for it. We must continue to increase the size of the pie, not divvy up the same education funding pie more.
Quality Affordable Healthcare
If we can’t stay healthy we can’t stay working; it’s pretty simple. Louisiana’s citizens deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare and efforts to disrupt that state’s expansion of Medicaid are foolhardy. The costs of healthcare continue to increase and that’s why we need more doctors, more research and more outside of the box thinking to control those costs. It’s time for leadership, not politics, and we need to bring together the best minds to solve this crisis.
Transportation in Louisiana is abysmal and getting worse. We have failed to make appropriate investments in our infrastructure over the past few decades and if the system continues to erode it could have some long term ramifications on our jobs prospects. I have continually fought for increased road funding and we need to look at all the ways we move goods and services in the state. The Mississippi River is an important means of moving goods and its importance will become even more meaningful as more and more goods are produced in the state. From highways to rail, we can and must take a multimodal approach to moving goods and people and make the investments now that prepare our state for the future it can have.
Agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Louisiana, and it is vital to our economy. Our farmers and their farms have earned our respect and need our support. I’ve been a tireless advocate for the issues that affect them from tax policy to land rights and I’ll continue to be a fighter and strong advocate. We have seen Louisiana farmers impacted for natural disasters yet remain resilient in their commitment to their families, community and this state. Together, we will continue to advocate for legislative measures that ensure their success.
Protecting the Unborn and Children
Nothing is more important than protecting the unborn but that doesn’t stop at birth – we have to ensure the safety of kids whether it’s in their homes, their communities or the air they breathe. I will always fight to “Choose Life” and have been an outspoken advocate, sponsor and leader for the least among us. My unbridled passion for protecting the unborn has placed me on the opposite sides, sometimes, of friends, but I know our advocacy is important and will remain an unwavering advocate for the unborn.
College and T.O.P.S.
Louisiana is facing a brain drain where our smartest students are leaving the state either before or after college. We have worked hard as a state to create post-secondary learning opportunities for everyone, whether you want to be a geologist, an engineer or a welder. Educational funding and TOPS is an important part of that that enables kids who have studied and worked hard in high school to be able to afford to go to college. But with the massive cuts our higher learning institutions have faced over the last decade, they are losing faculty and becoming monuments to the learning they used to make possible. We are finally seeing a turn around and for the first time in years Louisiana colleges and universities did not see cuts. We must continue to rededicate ourselves to ensuring that these institutions of learning and research have the monetary reserves to succeed.
Jobs and Economic Development
Louisiana needs to be thinking about the jobs of tomorrow while we ensure the jobs of today put food on a family’s table and a roof over their head. Our natural resources have blessed us with an abundance of jobs right now, but they are finite over time and have consequences that we need to consider. We must continue to bring jobs here that can flourish on their own after perhaps getting a kickstart from government. Technology, manufacturing, agriculture, the arts and tourism: these are areas that need focus and long term plans for their continued success.
Women's Rights - Equal Pay and Domestic Violence
Mothers and daughters deserve equal pay for equal work and for years these bills have been swatted down by the opposition for largely political purposes. When women in Louisiana only earn $0.80 for every dollar that men earn for doing the same work there a problem. It manifests in the lost wages and lost opportunities for women and their families. With so many single earner households in Louisiana, we can and must ensure that women are paid equally. It’s a moral and an economic issue and is worthy of the fight. Also, I was a proud sponsor of the domestic violence awareness license plate and will continue to advocate and fight for women’s rights. They need protection from spouses that use threats and violence to achieve their goals and there is no place for that in civilized society.
Our seniors are often the forgotten ones in our state but for those that have done so much, we are indebted to making sure their later years are peaceful and with as little doubt as possible. From helping build senior centers to dealing with nursing homes and quality care, we will be judged by how we deal with our grandfathers and grandmothers. I’ll never stop fighting to ensure that they are safe, happy and able to enjoy the same Louisiana we all do.