On the Ballot

Gambit Editorial: Our endorsements for the March 20 special election

By Gambit Editorial

Source: Gambit

March 5, 2021

On March 20, voters in Louisiana’s Second Congressional District will choose a successor to former U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond, who now works as a top aide to President Joe Biden. Voters in state House District 82, which encompasses Old Jefferson and other parts of Metairie, will likewise chose a new state representative. And in most parts of Jefferson Parish, voters will decide whether to renew a pair of property tax millages for improved water and sewer service.

Early voting in all those areas runs March 6-13. Turnout is expected to be low across the board, so we urge all our readers in those areas to make their voices heard. Sample ballot, polling locations and other voter information can be found at GeauxVote.com. We herewith offer our recommendations.

For Congress: Troy Carter

The Second Congressional District includes parts of 10 south Louisiana parishes, but almost 70% of its voters live in Orleans and Jefferson parishes. Several of the 15 candidates in this race impressed us, most notably state Senators Troy Carter and Karen Carter Peterson, activist Gary Chambers Jr., and business owner Desiree Ontiveros. We hope they all continue to serve their communities and will offer themselves for public service again. In this race, of course, voters can choose only one candidate. After examining their records and interviewing each of them on the issues, we recommend Troy Carter as Louisiana’s newest member of Congress.

Carter has served our area on several levels already — beginning in the state House of Representatives in the 1990s and then on the City Council. He lost a bid for mayor in 2002 and dropped out of public life, but he continued to serve the community in the private sector as a volunteer leader with several nonprofits and community groups. In 2016, he returned to the state Legislature as a senator representing both Orleans and Jefferson parishes on the West Bank.

As a senator, Carter has established a proven record of effectiveness by building coalitions to support (and in some cases, oppose) legislation affecting our region and its people. He has been on the forefront of advocating for a higher minimum wage, equal pay for women, ending wage discrimination and secrecy, LGBTQ rights, better health care for all (including mandatory insurance coverage for women recovering from breast cancer), criminal justice reform, expanded voting rights, affordable housing — and more. In Congress, he will work to pass President Biden’s agenda for securing voting rights, addressing climate change, expanding and guaranteeing public health care, raising the minimum wage, and reforming the nation’s tax code.

Most important of all, Carter has shown that he can work with other lawmakers to move important legislation forward, particularly when it requires finding common ground with those who have opposing viewpoints. This is a critical skill set, one that Richmond displayed over the years. Louisiana needs someone with those skills more than ever. He is endorsed by the Alliance for Good Government, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng, New Orleans Councilmember Helena Moreno and more than 100 others — including Richmond. We add our name to that impressive list by urging our readers to elect Troy Carter as Louisiana’s next congressman.

House District 82: Eddie Connick

Voters in Old Jefferson and other parts of Metairie will choose a new state representative to replace former Rep. Charles Henry, who resigned after serving just one year in office. Three candidates are vying for the job. We recommend former medical and health services executive Eddie Connick.

Connick brings a strong business and medical background to the job. He spent more than two decades working for Medtronic, a leading medical technology firm. His experience there gives him uncommon insight into the challenges facing public health care, which he believes can be expanded via tightened audit procedures that will free up money for expanded care. He also will push for a top-to-bottom revision of Louisiana’s arcane tax code, including centralized sales tax collection, and for greater funding for early childhood education. He supports mandatory kindergarten and making it easier for citizens to vote legally, noting that fears of “voter fraud” are “a red herring.” He also will advocate for improved flood protection in his district. We recommend Eddie Connick for state representative in House District 82.

Jefferson Parish Tax Renewals: Yes

A pair of property tax renewals will appear on the ballot in parts of Jefferson Parish. These are existing taxes that support vital water and sewerage services in most but not all areas of the parish. Voters are being asked to renew them both for 10 years with a maximum millage (property tax) rate of 5 mills each. We recommend voters say “YES” to both propositions.

Both propositions are endorsed by the nonpartisan Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR), which examined them closely before making its recommendation. “The taxes would provide revenue necessary to maintain and improve Jefferson Parish’s water and sewer systems,” BGR wrote in its analysis. “The Parish has clear plans for implementing infrastructure projects that would address critical needs and reduce risks of system disruption and environmental hazards.”

If approved by voters, the millage rates would increase nominally, but the total increase per $100,000 in a property’s value would be only about $33 a year — a paltry sum for improved water and sewer services. We urge our readers in the areas served by the water and sewer districts to vote YES on the two renewals.

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