October 3, 2019

Endorsements for Oct. 12th Election

Voters Organized to Educate began the “Know Your Vote” campaign as a response to people wondering: “You live and work in this field, year after year, what’s y’all’s take on these candidates? I can’t figure out who is going to be good on criminal justice reform.” So with that said, let’s just dive into it. Download or share your complete ballot here.

Statewide Offices:

  • Governor John Bel Edwards has been a big part of Louisiana’s historic turn away from our legacy of slavery, away from the global epicenter on mass incarceration, towards building a state that can begin addressing public safety with stable communities as the end goal. Although there is a long way to go, and the recent rise in massive detention of immigrants (on behalf of ICE), Gov. Edwards is the clear choice among a field that would unravel progress, if given a chance.
  • Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry: Who knew that a huge barrier in getting medical marijuana in Louisiana was the Secretary of Agriculture’s resistance to introducing production of cannabis? The world has recognized this plant as a critical anti-depressant and anti-anxiety treatment (among many other well known uses), and Big Pharma has done their best to keep it out of American’s medicine cabinets. For this reason, we believe Marguerite “Margie” Green is the obvious choice, as a farmer who has a full grasp of the broader conservation issues of in Louisiana.
  • Louisiana Supreme Court Justice (on the J.P. and North Shore ballots): The last stop for nearly every case in dispute is the state Supreme Court. This goes for wrongful convictions, non-unanimous juries, bail, fines and fees issues, and the ethics of prosecutors and judges. Of the four candidates running, we are hopeful that Judge Scott Schlegel can protect new laws as the legislature changes them, and hold prosecutors and judges accountable. As someone who recognizes the value of Reentry Court, perhaps he can be part of making all courts comparable to Reentry Court (which processes a minuscule percentage of cases).

State Legislature

  • Senate District 14: We’ve made it no secret that we are supporting Pat Smith in this race. Her record clearly indicates the passion and effectiveness she has brought to the Legislature. In particular, she pursued a voting rights bill when nobody thought it could be done. The day Gov. Edwards signed Act 636 into law, the room was packed full of people who were excited to have voting rights, and proud to be part of Louisiana. Rep. Smith received a perfect score on The Power Coalition legislative scorecard.
  • Senate District 15: Incumbent Senator Regina Barrow is an easy choice, as someone who has consistently worked for the People.
  • Senate District 16: This 5-way race is likely to go to a run-off, and two people in the race have been on the House side for a while- neither of whom has a stellar record in supporting criminal justice reform. This is why we are supporting Beverly Brooks Thompson, to bring a fresh perspective into the Capitol, as someone aligned with out values of supporting and uplifting all parts of the community.
  • House District 18: First term Rep. Jeremy LaCombe has taken a common sense approach to the issues we expect politicians to solve, and has earned a chance to stay in the Legislature to get things done.  
  • House Districts 67, 68, and 70: Four (and five) candidates vying for this seat deserve a closer look in the likely run-off election, so we wish them all the best.
  • District Judge, 19th JDC, ES 2, Div. A: If there is one thing that the judiciary sorely needs, is more former defense attorneys as judges. As a former public defender and school board member, we expect Tarvald Smith to have the type of community awareness required to be both fair and reasonable on the bench.
  • District Judge, 19th JDC, ES 2, Div. L: Another defense attorney is running for judge in this race, and we believe Ronald Johnson will be a valuable addition to the judiciary. Having handled capital cases, he has a full command of all aspects inside a court case.
  • Judge, Juvenile Court, Elec. Sect. 2B: It isn’t often that someone with such an appropriate life and career experience as Nyles Hamer is a candidate for the juvenile courts. As he explains publicly, Nyles’ childhood informs his representation of children in the juvenile court. Voters need to give him an opportunity to bring that expertise to every case.
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