I am a huge fan of Eddie Rispone. He is a self-made success with whom I have worked closely over the last twelve years. In that time this selfless volunteer has dedicated not only his financial resources, but also his personal time to the reform of an education system that has left Louisiana at or near the bottom. Especially for its poorest citizens I have seen positive results from his efforts, results that give us hope for a better Louisiana.
Eddie has now stepped forward to offer himself as governor. This is historically significant because Eddie comes to us without any commitments or ties to special interests. And we all know that, through their use of massive campaign contributions, special interests have bought influence over our leadership.
A poignant example of the impact of influence buying is that our insurance rates are double that of surrounding states. No one should be surprised, a few trial lawyers have invested millions in John Bel Edwards so that he would carefully protect their interests; he has not let them down.
Selling the interests of the people isn’t isolated to just the Edwards’ administration, but the impact on real people under the Edwards’ governorship is more pronounced. A Rispone governorship would be different. While Edwards has been busy collecting over $10 million from special interests, Eddie is self-funding his campaign. That means that after decades of governance based on what’s good for special interests, we will have a governor who doesn’t owe anything to special interests, whose focus is on what’s good for the people.
Eddie’s independence is highlighted by his commitment to call a convention to draft a new constitution. The existing constitution, crafted under the watchful eye of our most corrupt governor, does a great job helping special interests, even as our people remain trapped in poverty. But just listen carefully to John Bel Edwards as he campaigns. His case is that he should be re-elected because he increased taxes to protect the status quo, not any reference to reforming government as he promised. His only position on constitutional change is that he would rewrite the revenue sections to generate even more taxes. The underlying message from the governor’s campaign, vote for me and I will tax you more with only the guarantee that nothing changes.
Only an independent Eddie Rispone, without concern of just what’s good for contributors, can change the future of Louisiana by tackling the substantive issues. It has proven impossible for Edwards, like governors before him, to undertake changes to benefit the people because he is beholden to the benefactors of his massive campaign contributions.
With a history of selfless giving and a personal history of success, I consider Eddie Rispone to be a great gift that is being offered to the people of Louisiana. They and they alone will have the choice to accept this gift. If they choose to accept it, they can rest assured that finally, after over a hundred years of mediocrity, things will change for the better. If they reject his offer and re-elect Edwards they must be prepared for another four years of mediocrity. It’s really that simple.