Jim Brown is a Louisiana legislator, Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner.
The honeymoon may be just beginning for President-Elect Donald Trump, but any such love fest has come to an abrupt end for Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. 2016 was a year the new governor would like to forget, but things don’t look a lot better for 2017. In fact, it could become a lot worse.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I always do. A New Year always brings with it promise and uncertainty, but this coming year brings with it a greater foreboding than we have experienced in the past. The Chinese have a saying: "May you live in interesting times." But their definition means dangerous or turbulent. We in Louisiana and throughout America certainly live in “interesting” times today.
Most of us have been swept up in the momentum of the holiday season. We are passing the Christmas milestone and are approaching New Year’s Day, the third in the trilogy of holidays that we celebrate during this time each year — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.
Remember the old knock on presidential candidate John Kerry back in the 2004 presidential election? “I was for it before I was against it.” Today, about the single worst charge that can be made against any conservative Republican politician is that they support Obamacare. President-Elect Trump said during the recent campaign that his first act would be to abolish Obamacare. And the key component is requiring every citizen to buy health insurance.
Say it isn’t so. The Bayou State, made up of docile souls who are law abiding, courteous and well-trained motorists, has just been tagged by several rating services as having the worst drivers in the nation. Look, the folks down here in the deepest of the deep Southern states do get a little rowdy now and then. Maybe Mardi Gras and Saturday night in Tiger Stadium. But day in and day out, we are a bunch of lousy drivers? It just can’t be!
The headlines resounded across the front page of both New Orleans’ daily newspapers. “AN UNCONSCIONABLE ACT” blared the New Orleans Advocate. “IT WAS PANIC,” shouted The Times Picayune. Bullets were flying all over Bourbon Street as a visiting Baton Rouge man was killed and 10 others were injured. And the continuing tragic news is that 42 people were shot in the Crescent City in the previous 10 days alone.
One of the biggest tests facing Louisiana’s recently elected Governor John Bel Edwards is the challenge of re-instilling pride in the attitudes of many Louisianans.
Government can only do so much. But a governor can be a catalyst in raising the public’s expectations.
by Jim Brown
One of the hallmarks of America’s democracy is the right to vote on who are leaders will be. And implicit in the process is the guarantee that elections will be run fairly without any hint of corrupting the process. That includes a voter’s confidence that those running our elections and those in charge of the government in power do not, by their actions, taint the process. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
People are early voting in record numbers all over America. Here in my home state of Louisiana, election participation is up 25% over the presidential election just four years ago. Predictions are that as many of 40% of total voters will cast their ballots before Election Day. This means long lines, and in most states, a long ballot to consider.
Do young voters really care about who runs their local, state and federal government? Whatever buzz inspired younger voters to support Barack Obama has been severely diminished by the gridlock in Washington. Voters under thirty (and the rest of us, for that matter) have witnessed conflict and partisan politics while the economy languishes and major problems go unresolved. The idealism of youth is being replaced by a cynicism towards those in charge, and this includes from the President right down to the local level.