A release which just popped out this morning from Baton Rouge Metro Councilman Ryan Heck…
HECK ANNOUNCES INTENTION TO SEEK EBR GOP COMMITTEE SEAT
Baton Rouge – Metro Councilman Ryan E. Heck announced his intention Friday to ask for the consideration of the Executive Committee of the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge as a candidate to fill its open at-large seat.
“As a member of the Metro Council, it has been my privilege to fight for fiscal responsibility, economic growth and limited government,” Heck said, “and I have learned in my time as an elected official that it is crucial we have a vibrant and resolute Republican Party in this parish if we’re to win elections and carry the issues of the day. I reached out to Chairman Woody Jenkins on Thursday and informed him of my intention to seek nomination of the position.”
” It is imperative for the Republican Party that we have all hands on deck and that everyone is on board with spreading our message and growing our party. An open seat on the Republican Parish Executive Committee is an opportunity for me to further serve the party. I would be honored to serve on the PEC because I feel it is crucial to build and expand the local GOP which supports candidates and important issues that win parish-wide races.”
Why is this significant? Well, Heck represents a bit of a different direction than what we usually see where local Republican politics is concerned. After all, the chairman of the Parish Executive Committee within the East Baton Rouge GOP is Woody Jenkins, and a good number of the seats on the PEC are filled with people who have been around Republican politics forever – Dan Kyle, Tommy French and Jerry Arbour being some prominent examples.
And because the “old guard” in Baton Rouge Republican politics still controls the PEC, a common criticism is made that it’s dominated by hard-core social conservatives and it lacks innovation.
Is that a fair criticism? We’re not going to quite go there. It is fair to say that some of the moves the PEC has made of recent vintage don’t particularly make sense, or conform to an organization with a clear vision for how to turn East Baton Rouge Parish red again, and it’s also fair to say that we’re coming to a point fairly soon where the GOP winning parish-wide elections in this parish will start to become impossible. The current governing class in town, which Heck has been a fairly stalwart critic of, seems hell-bent on running as many middle-class families out of East Baton Rouge as possible – and that makes Ascension and Livingston Parishes into hard-core conservative paradises, but it gives up the jewel of the metropolitan area to the ideological persuasion which did so much for Detroit.
So it’s important that younger, smarter and more aggressive people, like Heck, be brought into leadership of the party on the local scene. The ideology of the East Baton Rouge Republican party doesn’t particularly need to change, but its focus and presentation probably does.
The question is, will the current PEC membership accept Heck onto the committee?