“Whatchu Talkin’ Bout, Wilson?”

Editor’s Note: Here’s a letter signed by 19 members of the Louisiana House of Representatives alarmed by a since-deleted tweet from Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson inferring that members of the House who didn’t support the gas tax would be blackballed in some way from getting road projects. That didn’t sit well with the legislature at all, and it might be very interesting going forward to see what effect this fiasco might have on Wilson’s future.

June 1, 2017

Governor John Bel Edwards
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Dear Governor Edwards,

Yesterday, Shawn Wilson, Secretary for the Department of Transportation and Development, sent a tweet stating “2 legislators opposing the gas tax already made requests for road maintenance, the day the bill was pulled. No is the easy answer.” This tweet was sent at 5:29pm but was quickly deleted thereafter.

This is a very inappropriate statement made by the DOTD Secretary embodying what is wrong with politics. In the eyes of many members, it is being viewed as utilizing tax dollars as retribution for a vote. While we do not know the legislators to which he is referring, we do know these two legislators represent thousands of taxpaying citizens who contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Transportation Trust Fund. With Secretary Wilson’s tweet, should these citizens expect to see no return on the taxes they pay?

This past year, you have used the term “Washington-style politics” to describe the legislature. However, if your DOTD Secretary is holding hostage taxpayer money, isn’t that the epitome of what people hate about politics? Isn’t that a major disservice to the hardworking men and women who pay gas taxes? And, isn’t this type of action contrary to the “honor code” you ran on during your campaign?

If your answer is “yes” to those questions, the people we represent deserve an explanation regarding why this statement was made and if taxpayer dollars will be used in retribution-style political games. The money in this fund is not yours, nor is it Shawn Wilson’s, nor is it ours. It belongs to the people of Louisiana, and it should be used to better our state, not as a political pawn.

All the best,

Rick Edmonds
State Representative – District 66

Beryl Amedée
State Representative – District 51

Tony Bacala
State Representative – District 59

Raymond Crews
State Representative – District 8

Julie Emerson
State Representative – District 39

Reid Falconer
State Representative – District 89

Raymond Garafalo
State Representative – District 103

Lance Harris
State Representative – District 25

Cameron Henry
State Representative – District 82

Bob Hensgens
State Representative – District 47

Paul Hollis
State Representative – District 104

Dodie Horton
State Representative – District 9

Sherman Mack
State Representative – District 95

Blake Miguez
State Representative – District 49

Stephen Pugh
State Representative – District 73

Steve Pylant
State Representative – District 20

Alan Seabaugh
State Representative – District 5

Scott Simon
State Representative – District 74

Polly Thomas
State Representative – District 80

Cc: Secretary Shawn Wilson

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