There are a number of key legislative races shaping up in advance of the October primary in Louisiana’s statewide elections, but the most important one might well be the Senate contest in District 36, where one of Louisiana’s worst RINO’s occupies a seat in one of the state’s most conservative districts.
Senate District 36 is Trump country. The Bossier Parish-centered district went 72 percent for the president over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, fourteen points higher than his statewide average. Also that same year John Kennedy pulled 71 percent of the vote over Foster Campbell, despite the fact Campbell hails from just next door in Shreveport. Similarly, David Vitter picked up 60 percent of the vote over John Bel Edwards in Senate District 36 in the 2015 runoff.
Despite those numbers, Gatti – who won a razor-thin 51-49 decision over Henry Burns four years ago – has been a rather slavish devotee of Edwards’ in the legislature, acting to kill good bills in committee while attempting to message himself as a True Conservative. Gatti has brought bills aimed at promoting school prayer and furthering the pro-life movement in the state, both of which were of dubious constitutionality – so much so that even advocates of those positions opined they’d do more harm than good.
And in the meantime, Gatti is one of the single largest culprits in the Senate’s continued efforts to impede tort reform by legislation. A trial lawyer, Gatti sits on the infamous Judiciary A committee which killed tort reform legislation in this year’s session. Louisiana car insurance ratepayers will continue to suffer as a result.
His opponent, oil refinery executive Robert Mills, hasn’t let Gatti off the hook for that. Mills’ ad takes aim at trial lawyers and the damage the state’s judicial-hellhole status has done to its economy, without mentioning Gatti by name (he doesn’t need to; everybody knows he’s talking about the incumbent)…
And of course there’s syndicated radio host Moon Griffon, who has unloaded on Gatti in no uncertain terms after Gatti called departing Senate President John Alario, the most perfect example of a RINO in Louisiana history, a “good shepherd”…
Gatti’s Facebook is bragging about his 100 percent score on LABI’s recently-released scorecard, which includes his being one of six Senators to vote against the seven-year extension of the state sales tax increase. Except that vote was more or less a freebie – everybody knew that extension was going to pass no matter what Gatti’s vote would be. And Gatti’s 2019 score merely raised his four-year LABI rating to 56 percent – a pathetic number which makes him one of the worst RINO’s in the Senate.
And for good reason, as Gatti’s voting record on taxes is nothing short of abysmal. To wit…
In addition to voting for John Alario for senate President and killing automobile insurance reform, Ryan Gatti voted YES on all of the following tax increases:
– 2018 3rd special session: .45% (Paula Davis) sales tax increase. He voted against the tax bill, but voted for the bill which spent the money.
– 2018 2nd Special: HB 12 $2.7 Billion sales and income tax increase (filibustered by Seabaugh), HB 27 $2.1 Billion sales tax increase
– 2016 2nd special: HB35 $683 million HMO tax, SB 6 $86 million inventory tax
– 2016 1st Special: HB 14 $230 million tobacco tax, HB 19 $381 million corporate franchise tax, HB 20 $105 million per year income tax, HB 27 $97 million alcohol tax, HB 43 $32 million income tax, HB 61 $598 million sales tax, HB62 $1.7 Billion sales tax, HB 87 $8.3 million insurance premium tax
So no, this is not an anti-tax warrior.
Then there is the fact Gatti has given $9,000 to John Bel Edwards and there’s his $70,000 contribution to the Democrat Napoleon PAC in the middle of the 2016 presidential election when that PAC was spending on behalf of Hillary Clinton. It simply isn’t an operable statement to say this is someone who should call himself a Republican.
By contrast, Mills has been on the board of NORTHPAC, the LABI political action committee focused on races in the northern part of the state, for several years. He’s the former CEO of the Calumet refinery in Shreveport and has been a business leader in that area for as long as anyone can remember. Nobody has ever questioned his conservatism, and a review of his campaign contributions turns up nothing out of the ordinary for a conservative Republican businessman.
There is a real opportunity to eliminate one of the state’s most obnoxiously-dishonest RINO state senators. Voters in Bossier City and thereabouts just need to take that opportunity and elect Mills in District 36.