A former anchor and reporter for the local NBC affiliate, state Rep. Helena Moreno has served in the Louisiana State House, representing District 93, since her election in 2010.
As a state legislator, Moreno, who serves as the chair of the Women’s Caucus, points to her record of “getting things done.”
“In my legislative career, I’ve worked on issues like criminal justice reform. In 2011, I authored legislation that created the re-entry court system. I have also worked on legislation that impacts women and their families…I got a record for really pushing forward very difficult agendas.”
She is running for at-large seat on the council because she wants to have a “stronger impact on the everyday issues that affect us here in New Orleans.
“I want to be able to work on our infrastructure issues, work on our public safety…I want to work every day on these issues that affect all of us. And I want to do it down here, back at home—not fighting in Baton Rouge, but back here at home.”
When it comes to public safety and crime, Moreno says she wants to get more officers on the streets; but adds that it doesn’t necessarily mean hiring more officers just yet.
“When it comes to getting more boots on the ground, first let’s move as many officers as possible—current officers having to sit behind the desk—out into the streets to do patrolling. Officers that I talk to who are doing desk duty, having to answer the phone…they want to be out on the streets. So let’s bring in civilians to do that work, so we get more officers on the street. At the same time, we have a lot of different law enforcement agencies in New Orleans. There needs to be better coordination across all agencies.”
Moreno also says she would institute quarterly meetings with law enforcement leadership, including the NOPD Chief and the DA, to discuss the city’s crime plan, benchmarks and goals.
She adds that more focus and coordination must also take place with regard to re-entry and substance abuse treatment programs in order to get a handle on causes of crime.
“We have to make that a priority,” she says.
If elected, Moreno says she would also work with the business community to help meet workforce development needs.
Moreno says she has been a champion of both a living wage and equal pay in the legislature—two issues where she faced defeat in the face of a formidable business lobby against raising the minimum wage.
“We must continue fighting, fighting, fighting in Baton Rouge,” she says. “We cannot give up. At the same time…there are some cities that have been prevented by their states from enacting living wages, and they went on and did it anyway. I’m just saying.”