Governor’s race lacking in vision

Governor’s race lacking in vision

Gov. John Bel Edwards and businessman Eddie Rispone need to give voters more information about what they plan to do in office if they win the Nov. 16 runoff. The Advocate’s editorial board writes that neither candidate has laid out clear plans for the future, with Edwards focusing mainly on his record as Rispone refuses to answer basic questions about his policy preferences. 

For starters, Rispone was alone among the three major candidates in not responding to the public questionnaire distributed by the Council for a Better Louisiana. The group asks 17 questions on subjects including the candidates’ leadership style, the top outcomes they hope to achieve if elected, transportation infrastructure, education, workforce development, job growth, state fiscal policies, and criminal justice reform. That’s not an insider discussion: Letting in regular voters into his thinking on the CABL questionnaire will provide some insight into the potential goals of a Rispone administration. 


Focus on health, not abortion
As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to rule on Louisiana’s law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, a Baltimore physicians suggests the state’s resources would be better invested in programs that improve health outcomes for women. Dr. Beryl Rosenstein writes in the Wall Street Journal:

In this context, it is useful to look at the current health status of the people in Louisiana. Life expectancy at 75.6 years is three years shorter than the national average. The neonatal mortality rate is 7.5/1,000 live births compared with the national rate of 5.8/1000 live births. The state ranks fifth in cancer and heart-disease death rates and has the second highest rates for preterm births and low- birthrate infants. The adult obesity rate is 36.8% compared with the U.S. average of 29.9%, and the adult smoking rate is 23.1% compared with the U.S. average of 14%.


Business trumps kids in BESE elections
Public education policy in Louisiana will continue to tilt toward charter schools, private-school vouchers and other “reform” measures backed by powerful business interests after Saturday’s primary elections. Will Sentell reports in the Advocate that candidates backed by the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry completed a near-sweep in races for the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education:

Most of Saturday’s winners enjoyed fatter campaign war chests than their opponents, in part because of financial support from LABI, which includes nearly 2,500 businesses. Candidates who failed in their bids Saturday, including some backed by the teachers unions, criticized sweeping changes in public schools enacted by the Legislature in 2012, said test scores prove public school “reforms” have failed and that charter schools need more accountability.


Racial justice for student loan debt crisis
More than 44 million Americans carry student loan debt. Research shows it can be particularly burdensome for Black and Latinx borrowers, who are more likely to default on loan balances that often increase debt beyond what was originally borrowed. Charlene Crowell in the Louisiana Weekly reports that a new poll shows overwhelming interest in student debt across party lines, but most strongly with people of color:

Even when partisan affiliations were included, the solid concern for this unsustainable financial burden held strong: 74 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents, and 90 percent of Democrats. When asked further about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s reduced efforts to protect students from abusive student loans and student loan services, those most concerned were Blacks, Latinx (73 percent), consumers earning less than $50,000 per year (72 percent).


Number of the Day
18% – Percentage of LGBTIQ+ workers in the South who are protected from job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Only 21 states and fewer than 300 cities and counties have local ordinances protecting LGBTIQ+ workers. (Source: US News & World Report)