The lieutenant governor of Louisiana is the state’s chief tourism official and cultural ambassador. But depending on how he or she maximizes the resources and leverage of the position, lieutenant governor can impact nearly every quality of life issue Louisianans face. And choosing the next one for our state can be just as important as choosing the next governor. For individuals—three Republicans and one Democrat—are vying for the seat.
ELBERT LEE GUILLORY
The 71-year-old Opelousas Republican, who is a former member of the state House of Representatives and currently serves in the state Senate, says he is running for lieutenant governor for the chance to serve the entire state. Guillory says he plans on taking an active role in all areas of state government.
“There was time when the lieutenant governor stood right behind the governor and made cabinet-level decisions. I’m going back to that,” he says. “I’ve talked to each of the gubernatorial candidates. Whichever one wins, he knows he is going to have a shadow.
The top three issues facing the state are jobs, education and safety, Guillory says.
“We need to be better prepared for the jobs that are here today and the ones that are coming tomorrow,” Guillory says, adding that state officials should do more to ensure its contractors are employing Louisiana workers.
“We’ve got to do better at that. This state is bringing in a lot of jobs. We’ve got to employ our people. Those are things that I am going to address personally; and it’s what I have always done.
As for moving the state’s tourism industry forward, Guillory says, “Yes, I will run tourism. I am prepared to run tourism. I have studied it and I can manage that.” He adds that he will focus on using social media extensively to market the state and its cities to millennials and will bring a “passion and excitement to selling Louisiana.”
Repeated attempts to reach the candidate were unsuccessful.
Former Plaquemines Parish President and businessman Bill Nungesser says he is passionate, hardworking, honest and innovative leader that never “set out to run for public office.”
“I saw a need for somebody that truly wanted to help people,” says Nungesser, referring to his decision to run for president of Plaquemines Parish, where he served two terms.
As Plaquemines’ former leader, Nungesser, a Republican, touts his accomplishments which he says include getting rid of $12 million in consultant contracts, giving parish employees pay raises and, of course, leading the parish’s post-Katrina rebuilding efforts.
“I forced the federal government to think outside the box and implement solutions to enhance flood protection and lower flood insurance rates,” he says. “I spearheaded the construction of five YMCA and United Way community centers elevating Plaquemines Parish to its former glory as an ideal community to live, work and raise a family.”
If elected lieutenant governor, a position he sought four years ago but lost, Nungesser says he will work to increase the state’s tourism revenue by 10 percent each year and create more than 66,000 new jobs by investing in and promoting the state’s agricultural industries (horses, hunting, fishing, etc.) and utilizing technology to market Louisiana.
Nungesser says he will sit with tourism business and industry leaders to discuss ways to encourage them to offer living wages to their employees.
“You have to just ask,” Nungesser says. “I am willing to sit down and say ‘You need to do better by your employees. What can we do to help you do that?”
And Nungesser says he will re-establish a “working relationship between the lieutenant governor’s and governor’s offices to reduce wasteful spending and promote economic development for all of Louisiana.”
John Young, 58, is the outgoing president of Jefferson Parish. Young says he is running for lieutenant governor so that Louisiana has a “better and brighter future.” He believes his experiences as an assistant district attorney and prosecutor as well as president of the second largest parish in the state have prepared him to be lieutenant governor in unique ways.
“We’ve got to reverse the crime trend,” Young says. “But for that issue, the sky is the limit and our best days are ahead of us. If we don’t reverse the trend, we are going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.”
“In the short term, that means more police presence and zero tolerance,” Young says. “For the long-term, we have to make sure everyone has the opportunity to get a quality education and economic opportunities.”
In the meantime, Young says he is committed to working with state and local law enforcement agencies to make sure they have the resources they need.
Young says he will work to ensure that every region across the state gets its fair share of tourism dollars. He also wants to work to attract more direct international flights in and out of Armstrong International Airport, he says.
Economic development must be a top priority for the state, Young says, adding that if elected, he will do more to market Louisiana as a retirement destination, especially considering the number of baby boomers aging into retirement.
“We need to go after that segment of the population,” Young says, adding that he believes cities and towns across Louisiana have everything good retirement communities ought to have—a relatively low cost of living, music, history, culture, mild climate, military bases and four-years colleges and universities.