Louisiana Record

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Pelican Institute: Educated voters more important than trade group endorsements

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By Dion M. Harris | Sep 10, 2019

Voters should do their homework before showing up at the polls. | swam4texas2@aol.com

Voters shouldn't read too deeply into a divide among the state's business community over candidate endorsements, according to a local think tank official.

What's important, according to Renee Amar, vice president for government affairs at Pelican Institute for Public Policy, is that citizens educate themselves so they can make wise decisions regarding leadership and the future of Louisiana when they head to the polls on Oct. 12.

"We have the 'Seven Questions' you can ask a candidate. These are the hard questions," Amar said. "These are the things [voters] should ask about, the things that help move the state forward."        

Two specialized industry groups, the Louisiana Motor Transport Association and the Louisiana Loggers Association, have endorsed state Rep. Tim Temple, R-Baton Rouge, a longtime insurance industry professional for Commissioner of Insurance. The mainline Louisiana Association of Business and Industry backs incumbent Commissioner Jim Donelon, R-Metairie. Donelon was appointed to fill the seat vacated by J. Robert Wooley in 2006. Donelon's third consecutive term ends this year.

Amar said voters should ask officials why this position is such an important one in Louisiana. A short answer is that the state's auto insurance rates are among the highest in the nation.

"I think it's relatively important. It’s a job for someone who should try to make our state open and welcome to business and competition, which is what we need," Amar said.

Voters should understand that endorsements mean a special interest group "typically supports that person’s policy position."     

Published earlier this week at its Jobs and Opportunity Agenda for Louisiana, the "seven simple questions" to the candidates cover taxes, the state budget, education, legal issues, health care and the constitutional convention.

"These are the seven questions a voter should ask a candidate knocking on their door," Amar said. "They are more pointed questions than the talking points candidates show up prepared to discuss."

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