This week hasn’t been kind to Louisiana’s last liberal standing.
Saturday night capped off a fall election season in which every multi-parish candidate endorsed by Governor John Bel Edwards suffered at least a 20 point defeat at the hands of a Republican. This has left the Governor and his Party asking themselves what they possibly could have done to get a single win on their record. At this point, Gov. Edwards and the Louisiana Democratic Party are looking a lot like the Cleveland Browns.
Coming out of the weekend, the Governor was most likely looking forward to a week where he could get back to talking about raising taxes and how Louisianans aren’t paying their fair share. However, Judge Todd Hernandez of the 19th JDC had other plans. Hernandez handed down a decision delivering a crushing blow to Gov. Edwards’ plan to circumvent the Legislature. The 19th JDC decision affirmed the independence of the Attorney General’s office and it ruled that the Governor cannot act outside the scope of his authority by creating law with the stroke of his pen. This ruling will no doubt make the Governor think twice before overstepping his office for the remainder of his term.
To top off a rough Wednesday, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Charlie Melancon issued his resignation. Gov. Edwards stated that he and Melancon agreed that the agency needed to move in a different direction. This marks the first cabinet secretary to leave Gov. Edwards’ administration, with Melancon lasting just 11 moths in the position. After having two months of transition to initially fill this position, Gov. Edwards scratched the back of a failed political buddy in need of work, and the people of Louisiana suffered. Secretary Melancon leaves as a very unpopular leader of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, with anglers and fishery advocates furious with many of the department’s decisions when it comes to fishing regulations and ending popular programs such as the fish tagging program. Gov. Edwards is now without someone he described as a “tremendous public servant.” We hope that the Governor has learned his lesson about rewarding the good ole boys, and will move to appoint a Secretary who will help Louisiana remain the Sportsman’s Paradise.
Moving to Thursday morning, Governor John Bel Edwards’ controversial push to hire his top campaign supporters to represent the state in lawsuits potentially worth billions of dollars earned Louisiana a spot on the American Tort Reform Foundation's (ATRF) annual “Judicial Hellholes” list. According to the 2016-2017 report released today, the Pelican State is the nation’s seventh-worst Judicial Hellhole. Featured most prominently in the report, is Gov. Edwards’ ongoing effort to hire his top political supporters in government-sponsored litigation to shakedown the oil and gas industry for billions of dollars to restore the state’s eroding coast. Just another example of how the Governor repaying his friends and donors has caused damage to Louisiana’s business climate.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get much worse, the FBI decided to pay a visit to Gov. Edwards’ brother, Sheriff Daniel Edwards of Tangipahoa Parish, raiding the Sheriff’s office. The Tangipahoa Sherriff’s office was raided in regards to warrants related to a nearly one year-old inquiry into a DEA task force accused of stealing cash from drug dealers, selling confiscated narcotics and tampering with witnesses. The Governor’s brother has been the Sheriff of Tangipahoa Parish for more than 12 years.
This week certainly could not end soon enough for Governor Edwards. Ironically, Republicans are also anxious to kick off next week, albeit for different reasons. On Monday, Louisiana’s 8 Republican Electors will meet at the State Capitol to cast their Electoral College votes for President-elect Donald J. Trump. Another reminder to Louisiana’s last liberal standing that Louisiana is a ruby red state, and his days in the Governor’s Mansion are numbered.