Schroder did resign it, after all, which means the seat is open and there will be an election for it this fall. A press release from Col. Maness…
This morning, St Tammany business owner, former Fortune 500 business executive, and retired Air Force Colonel Rob Maness, announced that he is a Republican candidate for the open District 77 seat Louisiana House of Representatives recently vacated by Representative John Schroder.
Maness said, “Baton Rouge is broken; there aren’t enough experienced, successful leaders there that can fix it. I have the proven leadership to change things. That is why I am running for the Louisiana House of Representatives.
Sadly, most of those at the Capitol went to there for the wrong reasons and want to preserve the status quo. I will go to Baton Rouge to stand up and work hard to actually change things. The people of Louisiana’s District 77 have my word: I will never stop fighting for them, I’ll never back down, and I’ll never give in to lobbyists or even party leadership when its time to do what’s right. It’s clear that sending a Republican to Baton Rouge is not enough, we must send leaders that will not give in to the special interests.
St Tammany Parish is the greatest place in the world to raise a family. That’s why the Maness family lives here. However, we see our neighbors’ children forced to move to other states for opportunity because the high taxes and lack of progress in Baton Rouge is killing jobs. I am running to serve as District 77 State Representative to ensure that our son and our neighbors’ children can find the opportunities and prosperity in St Tammany Parish that many are now forced to leave to find.
I’ll stand strong and work hard with everyone to restore our economic climate so new jobs won’t pass Louisiana by. Its high time we put St Tammany families first and ensure our children’s future. The status-quo of taking money from our pockets by raising taxes to fix problems won’t create the opportunities our children deserve – I will go to Baton Rouge to change that.”
We’ll see who else gets in before evaluating whether to make an endorsement, but we like Maness just fine for that seat – we also like Mark Wright, a less-well-known conservative activist and businessman who’s announced his intention to run, as well. Some of the things he’s said and done in the two races he’s run for the U.S. Senate haven’t quite worked for us, but Rob Maness is an actual conservative and he’s put the time in as one.
What we see as a problem with Louisiana’s state legislature from a conservative standpoint is two-fold: first, you have entirely too many used-car salesmen who ride sunny personalities and skills in retail politics into office without having the first idea what the hell they’ll be voting for in the legislature, and as a result you find yourself completely flummoxed at the prospect half the supposed Republicans in the legislature don’t have the faintest understanding of, much less fealty to, conservative principles. It’s like they need a “This is a football” speech on every single item of policy.
The second problem is you have lots of conservative activists who really do “get it,” and would be rock-solid votes for the right policies if they could ever get elected. But they can’t, because while they’d make good legislators they have zero skill when it comes to attracting voters.
And given that voters in Louisiana will happily vote for the most conservative they can find in congressional and presidential elections but aren’t very motivated by ideology in state and local races, the latter is a real problem. At some point, somebody with some resources is going to need to open a Candidate School to teach the used-car salesmen about conservatism and the conservative activists about how to sell used cars.
Maness, we trust, has already gone through Candidate School. He logged a lot of miles in that truck running for the Senate in 2014 and 2016, and he went through not a small amount of money. By now he ought to know a little about what works and what doesn’t in Louisiana politics, and he also ought to have a decent finger on the pulse of that St. Tammany Parish district Schroder represents. Maness is a member of the Republican Parish Executive Committee there, after all – as is Wright.
This might be one of the few cases in which there’s an election for something in Louisiana and voters can choose between multiple candidates worth voting for. That’s good for the folks in District 77, and it’s good for the state.