Monday, 03 August 2015 14:01
Inevitable changing a'coming in Louisiana government, all over

louisiana-legislatureby Stephen Waguespack, President and CEO of LABI

It's almost time to turn the page.

There are times throughout every year where we just have to move on to a different phase. While it can be tempting at times to assume that change will never happen – as the saying goes – we know it is, in fact, inevitable. The end of summer and the promise of fall bring a unique collection of challenges and opportunities. 

  The New Orleans Saints reported to practice last week, finally putting to rest a contentious off-season where they arguably traded or released some of their best weapons. The precision quick-strike offense and turnover-inducing defense that propelled the Saints to the 2009 Super Bowl has evolved over the past few years to a hot-and cold-offense coupled with a leaky-faucet defense. Change was coming, and the recent roster overhaul will be put to the test this season as the Saints try to reinvent themselves. Without a doubt, Drew Brees and the gang are glad to finally be back to making news on the field as compared to off the field.

LSU reports to practice this week with a potential Heisman trophy candidate at running back, a good mix of new additions and young players coming of age, and an ongoing quarterback controversy (sound familiar?). Whispers from summer workouts give hope that Brandon Harris may be ready to step up and as a playmaker under center, new defensive coaches have brought a fresh approach and a renewed energy to that unit and the freshman mistakes made by skill position players last year will be replaced with a more veteran-like effort. The SEC race is expected to be wide open, so LSU is in as good as a shape as anyone to contend this fall. Before we know it, memories of a mediocre Notre Dame team walking off the field in victory after the bowl game and John Chavis walking off that same field on his way to Texas A&M will be a distant memory.

Families across Louisiana are wrapping up vacation plans and stocking up on new supplies as school begins this week for many in the state. Pushing your kids outside and chasing them away from video games and lounging will soon be replaced by calling them inside to do their homework and tucking them into bed early. Before you know it, the daily schedule in many Louisiana households will once again revolve around the kids’ school and homework routine.

Politically, the Louisiana Legislature is glad to have this past session behind them as they focus on the fall election season. Much has been written about how that session went down. But one big takeaway is that no one involved says they want to see that type of session repeated again next year. The 2015 legislative session had enough angst, animosity and aggravation to last a lifetime. The preparation to ensure history is not repeated begins now, as candidates seeking office must qualify by Sept. 10, the primary election is Oct. 24, and the general election is Nov. 21.  Those dates will be here before you know it.

For the first time in eight years, Louisiana will elect a new governor. All four announced candidates – Commissioner Scott Angelle, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, and U.S. Sen. David Vitter – have stressed their desire to call a fiscal special session early in 2016 to tackle the state’s budget challenges. What is less certain are the specific proposals they intend to pursue to accomplish that objective. Therefore, interested policymakers and stakeholders across the state are beginning to research, develop, and articulate proposals to fill out that agenda – or are prepared to defend against it. While the platform for those running for office is still a work in progress, the supporters for “business as usual” are few and far between. Louisiana will embark on a new approach and, for better or worse, the success of that effort will depend on the details we all choose to support.

Change is inevitable, and there are a few times every year we are reminded of that in many ways. This year, as summer blends into fall, many of our favorite pastimes, such as football and politics, are due for some significant adjustments. Change can be good or it can be a setback. It can come too quickly or be long overdue. It can be predictable or come when we least expect it. It can be many things, but it is always inevitable.

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