Trumpette, Eddie Rispone, lost in the gubernatorial runoff election; four more years of John Bel Edwards.
Edwards has said he will stay the course, making the economy as good as it can be and working to increase teachers’ wages.
In an earlier column, I said maybe Edwards would move further left in his second term but, as was pointed out on WWL-TV’s election night coverage, Edwards is pro-gun & pro-life and while he is the only Democrat governor in the Deep South, anywhere else in the country he would probably be a Republican.
Of course, compared to former governor Bobby Jindal, Edwards’ moves toward inclusivity have been incredible.
In March of 2016 The Advocate reported that Edwards would rescind Jindal’s “Marriage and Conscience Order” which Jindal issued after similar legislation failed to pass. The order barred “the state from taking punitive action against an individual, business, or nonprofit group,” with the, “religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.” Edwards did so even though he personally opposes marriage equality; when he first ran for governor he said, “Now that it’s the law of the land…for me the issue is settled going forward.”
The next month, Edwards signed an executive order to provide, “employment protections for state employees and employees of state contractors on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, political affiliation, disability, or age.”
Edwards states on the governor’s office website, “While this executive order respects the religious beliefs of our people, it also signals to the rest of the country that discrimination is not a Louisiana value, but rather, that Louisiana is a state that is respectful and inclusive of everyone around us.”
The Governor’s attempts towards making the state more inclusive are respectable. It’s unfortunate that he doesn’t feel the same way about a woman’s right to an abortion but that comes as little surprise. Edwards is a religious man, and he knows that he must strike some balance between the left pull in places like New Orleans and the right pull in most of the rest of the state.
In this climate, it may seem surprising that a moderate Democrat like Edwards would sign an executive order like the one he did, one which, as a bill, failed in the legislature. Shreveport and New Orleans have passed anti-discrimination laws but that hasn’t edged into many other parts of the state.
Edwards’ actions were called “unconstitutional” for signing the order but that’s not really true. Executive orders have a constitutional basis by giving heads of state broad administrative powers. Such executive orders are used to declare States of Emergency during hurricanes, for instance. I doubt any Louisianan would call Edwards a fascist for enacting one when such a time comes.
So, while signing an executive order is totally legal and allowable, it is the type of thing that makes Edwards look good to a certain portion of his constituency but does little to actually advance the discourse on anti-discrimination.
We need to focus our attention, not only on the governor’s office, but also on our State Senate and House from which comes the bills that make their way to the governor’s desk.
We should contact those legislators to make sure they know what we want. As un-sexy as it might seem, write letters, make phone calls. Do it everyday. Do it twice a day.
I would love to publish a list of all of Louisiana’s legislators’ names, addresses and phone numbers, however that might constitute a separate issue of Ambushaltogether.
You can find who represents you at the website below. They want to hear from you and if they don’t listen to you…vote for someone else.