Candidates for Governor weigh in on LA Energy
As the Louisiana gubernatorial race approaches, candidates are making their pitches to various industries, with the oil and gas sector taking center stage in a recent forum hosted by the Grow Louisiana Coalition. With energy policies from the White House causing dissatisfaction among many in the industry, the candidates had an opportunity to discuss their views on crucial topics like coastal lawsuits, energy investments, job creation, and education.
Five candidates attended the forum, showcasing a diverse range of perspectives and solutions for the state's energy future. Republicans State Senator Sharon Hewitt, State Representative Richard Nelson, and Stephen Waguespack, along with Democrat Dr. Shawn Wilson and Independent Hunter Lundy, presented their visions for Louisiana's role in the energy landscape.
One significant concern addressed during the forum was the coastal lawsuits facing the industry. Senator Sharon Hewitt emphasized the need to end these lawsuits and send a clear message to businesses that Louisiana is open for business. In contrast, Attorney Hunter Lundy pointed out the government's past failure to enforce compliance, which has had implications for the industry.
Candidates were also asked about policies they would endorse to capitalize on emerging energy investments in the state. State Representative Richard Nelson stressed the importance of long-term sustainability in his approach to energy, while Stephen Waguespack, the former head of Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, highlighted the expertise of local professionals in shaping the industry's future.
Another essential aspect discussed was job creation, especially for the next generation, and the emphasis on STEM education. Waguespack advocated for greater collaboration between high schools and local educational institutions to promote STEM education, while Dr. Shawn Wilson, a former DOTD Secretary, underscored the need to make STEM education exciting and engaging from an early age.
Despite Treasurer John Schroder and Attorney General Jeff Landry's absence, the forum witnessed some indirect criticism directed at the presumed Republican front-runner, Attorney General Landry. Independent candidate Hunter Lundy called for the removal of corruption in Louisiana, indirectly referencing Landry. Senator Hewitt also expressed concerns about the coastal lawsuits, implicating "Lawsuit Landry" in the matter.
The discussion also touched on Louisiana's Industrial Tax Exemption Program, with each candidate sharing their perspective on how they would address it.
Senator Hewitt, known as an action-oriented individual, expressed her commitment to improving the state for future generations. Independent candidate Hunter Lundy emphasized his track record as an advocate and representative for diverse communities. Representative Richard Nelson aimed to restructure the tax code and prioritize education, while Stephen Waguespack emphasized the urgency of change to prevent the brain drain. Dr. Shawn Wilson highlighted his experience in government and disaster management, promising a leader who always puts Louisiana first.
The qualifying period for candidates is set for August 8-10, leading up to the primary on October 14. As Louisiana's energy industry continues to face challenges and opportunities, the decisions made by the next governor will be crucial in shaping the state's energy landscape for years to come.