OUR VIEW: Go vote

A total of thirteen candidates are seeking to replace Troy Brown as the State Senator representing Louisiana’s Second District. The district is a winding monstrosity of legislative whimsy, meandering from someplace east of here up through Lafourche Parish and into Baton Rouge.

In Lafourche Parish specifically, voters will decide whether to let one school tax continue with no increase, and whether to allow creation of a sales tax increase of one percent that would be used to fund teacher salaries and other matters related to education.

We have already urged voters to support the school-related taxes.

We are taking no position on the senatorial election, with its crowded starting gate.

Elton M. Aubert, D, Vacherie; Wayne Brigalia, R, Sunshine; Albert “Ali” Burl III, D, Garyville; Shannon Comery Sr., D, Donaldsonville; “Chris” Delpit, D, Gonazles; Warren Harang III, D, Donaldsonville; Jerry Jones, D, Thibodaux; Edmond Jordan, D, Brusly; Patrick “Lawman” Lawless, D, Belle Rose; Thomas L. “Tommy” Lyons, No Party, Thibodaux; Willie Massey-Farve, No Party, Geismar; Edward “Ed” Price, D, Gonzales; Jamie Roussell, D, Mt. Airy.

Two candidates in the field, Tommy Lyons and Jerry Jones, are from Thibodaux and would no doubt do a good job of representing the bayou region, and we would presume that in most cases Lafourche voters will vote for someone from the home team. There is no sin in selecting candidates on such geographic standards. Indeed, it is something of a Louisiana tradition and one that we will not argue against. Both Lyons and Jones have proved themselves – in different ways – as being dedicated to community. Both candidates are aware of the precarious position the Bayou Region finds itself in regarding matters of coastal restoration and the importance of ports. Both have been highly visible and we have no doubt that either would be so in the senate.

This election will no doubt result in a run-off. With such a wide geographic spread, it stands to reason that candidates from larger population centers may draw more votes. In Lafourche Parish 10,160 voters are qualified for the senatorial vote. Needless to say, if each and every one of them goes to the polls Saturday, their candidates of choice will stand a better chance of election than those from other areas of the district.

The math becomes fuzzy, however, when numbers reflecting issues beyond who is qualified to vote overall are taken into account.

Eleven out of the thirteen candidates on the ballot are black. Two are white. The Thibodaux candidate split that equation. Lyons is white and Jones is black.

The other white candidate, in addition to Lyons, is Harang.

Race should not be an issue in deciding elections, but we are also realistic.

Sen. Troy Brown, who abandoned the seat in disgrace because of his history of violence against women, is black. And for black residents of the district, that has been arguably beneficial. More black legislators makes for more members of the state’s black legislative caucus, which is in a unique position to address issues relating to black people. It stands to reason, therefore, that interests who might see the election in shades of black and white would see retention of the seat by a black candidate as an important matter.

While we understand the logic behind such concerns, and appreciate them, it is our hope that voters reading these pages will see beyond color in selection of a candidate, and will take the time to look into how each stands on the crucial issues that affect our state.

Once having done so, it is our hope that voters will get themselves to the polls on Saturday and cast their ballots.

Early voting statistics so far show that 565 votes have been cast in the senatorial race.

A total of 3,277 early in-person and mail-in ballots have been cast in Lafourche Parish regarding the school tax and bond issue overall. The total number of qualified voters for the senatorial election is 10,160. The total of qualified voters who can cast ballots on the tax and the bond issue is 58,441.

We urge all of our friends who are qualified to cast a ballot to make their way to the polls on Saturday. Only by drawing a maximum amount of voters can we say with confidence that the democratic system of making decisions truly works. Only by drawing a maximum amount of voters can we say that there is a better chance that the decision between candidates was more likely made in a basis of qualification for office and promise of good performance than ancillary issues such as party and race.

We hope for fair weather and a better than fair turnout. We hope you will help make the latter come to pass.