October 4, 2019
Endorsements for the Oct. 12 Election
While Voters Organized to Educate is fairly new to Lafayette, we have been diligently working across the state for several years. Voters Organized and our Know Your Vote campaign was created in response to the need for strategic direction as it relates to criminal justice reform. As this need has increased throughout the years, we’ve expanded our efforts and stepped up our game! Locate your Lafayette Parish sample ballot here and see who we’ve endorsed based on the issues that matter to us and our communities.
- 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 the 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 its 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 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).
- Mayor/Parish President: With many candidates vying for this very important role, it is safe to say that Carlee Alm-Labar is the best candidate for the job. Her experience and knowledge of leading a city/parish are by far the most advanced.
- Senate District 24: It’s an easy choice and a safe bet to send Senator Gerald Boudreaux back to the Capitol. Sen. Boudreaux has been a lifelong seasoned advocate for criminal justice reform and has been influential throughout his time in the Senate Chambers.
- House District 45: Here is a seat that needs change. We believe Rhonda Kim Gleason is knowledgeable on reform, particularly as it relates to the private prison sector.
- House District 96: This is one of two districts in Lafayette that does not have an incumbent running. Lucky for us, the two candidates running for House District 96 are both talking about criminal justice reform. Attorney Marcus Bryant is knowledgeable, diligent, and appears to be ready to build coalitions required to move legislation. Meanwhile, Cammie Maturin has been involved with criminal justice reform in Louisiana since 2009. She recognizes that our prison system is failing to focus on rehabilitation. Maturin understands that people change and that if we invest in the right programs, enough resources, and meaningful opportunities, we can change our state’s prison system.
Vote YES on Ballot Amendment 4, and let New Orleans decide for itself how to build affordable housing.
So there you have it. While other districts may not have been addressed by us, we encourage everyone to keep their eyes open, ask questions, and check receipts behind the speeches. Next spring, many legislators across the state will define our future, one way or another, for what is likely to be the next decade. Let none of us be too proud to admit if we made a mistake.
Early voting starts Sept. 28 and goes until Oct. 5, with the exception of Sunday, Sept. 29. If you can’t vote early, make sure you vote in the primary election on Oct. 12.
Check back after the primary for a re-boot before the run-off in November.