With nine original qualifiers in the race for governor, voters throughout Louisiana will choose one of six remaining candidates after three others were disqualified or withdrew. As of press time, only two candidates responded to The New Orleans Tribune’s request for interviews.
Oscar “Omar” Dantzler
If elected, Oscar “Omar” Dantzler says he will work to reform the state’s education, healthcare and justice systems. Dantzler pledges to work with the Louisiana Legislature to create a security plan for schools, raise the pay for law enforcement professionals, teachers, and other school support employees. He would also create an economic development plan that ensures senior citizens and veterans are not left behind. Dantzler says he would also seek grants to improve emergency situations, such as hurricane relief, crumbling interstate highways, and roadways.
The Dantzler Plan includes a work release program for non-violent offenders, instead of incarceration. Dantzler also vows to work with the Louisiana Legislature to pass an anti-police brutality and anti-harassment law that mandates accountability and consequences for police who harass citizens and use excessive force.
Dantzler’s intense focus on security and safety is the result of his 26 years of experience in security, law enforcement, and safety management. He’s served as a police officer, private investigator, firearm instructor for both the Louisiana and Mississippi State Police and he was a member of the Homeland Security Community Emergency Response Team. He also worked in the Tangipahoa Parish Schools for nearly two decades.
Dantzler currently owns a security company, a bail bonds company, and lawn care company. He is a member of the Hammond Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Education Association, Tangipahoa Parish Ministerial Alliance, the Tangipahoa Parish NAACP, International Bail Bonds Association, International Bodyguard and Security Guard Services Association, Metro Special Police and Security, NRA (Certified Instructor and Chair, Advisory Board Committee (School Bus Drivers).
Dantzler is a graduate of Hammond High School and Cornerstone Christian College, where he received an associate degree in Biblical Studies. Dantzler attended Southeastern Louisiana University as a Criminal Justice major.
John Bel Edwards
Incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards is a lawyer who has served as the 56th governor of Louisiana since 2016. He was previously the Louisiana House of Representatives minority leader for two terms.
On TribTalk, Gov. Edwards spoke about his past accomplishments and future goals.
Edwards inherited a $2 billion deficit from former GOP Governor Bobby Jindal. Under his leadership, however, the state now has a surplus. The governor invested $20 million in early childhood education, raised teacher pay, signed into law bills that put $76 million for the City of New Orleans S&WB and infrastructure improvement, invested in DXE, a tech company that relocated to New Orleans, and implemented a criminal justice reform plan.
The Medicaid expansion is another accomplishment of his first term in office that he touts.
Several of his actions were historic “firsts”. Under Edwards, teachers received the first pay raise in a decade; and, for the first time in its history, Louisiana no longer has the highest incarceration rate in the nation.
If re-elected, Edwards promises to keep investing in quality childhood education and higher education, with an emphasis on training women and minorities in STEM education, work with the city to facilitate economic development and a fair share for New Orleans, continue to support Louisiana’s growing tech industry, and work with the New Orleans delegation to support legislation for better transparency and oversight of New Orleans charter schools.
Edwards graduated from Amite High School in 1984 as valedictorian. In 1988, Edwards received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy, where he was on the Dean’s List. Edwards served in the Army for eight years and later earned a law degree from the Louisiana State University.