To all my friends, I want to tell you all a story that is becoming all too familiar to all too many of us. It is a story about two of your neighbors, people just like you.
These two are a very happily married couple who work hard and only want a good life for themselves and their family. Twenty-five years ago, they brought into the world a son, followed two years later by a daughter. These two gifts are the whole world to the couple. School, soccer practice, scraped knees……you know, the usual childhood stuff. That was followed by the fun and heartaches of teenage years and then off to college.
This was the time of year that made it all worthwhile; Thanksgiving with the family; Christmas arising early, with eggnog and Christmas carols, in time to open gifts.
But then suddenly it all abruptly ended. You see, like their friends who had already left, these two ambitious young people, young Louisianans, couldn’t see any real future here for themselves. So off they went to opposite sides of the country. Now its an occasional trip on Southwest Airlines for a quick visit. Maybe a short time at home during the holidays, but that’s about it.
And if the future holds grandchildren? Well, that’s either a two-thousand or four-thousand-mile trip. No chance to watch baseball games or ballet recitals. Just an odd phone call or two, every now and again.
You see this my story, our story. And as I said it has become all too real for so many other Louisianans. Faced with a lack of opportunity, our friends, neighbors, and especially our children are leaving for states that nourish their ambitions. They love Louisiana, but it has not loved them back.
I hate that my kids have left. I hate that we live in a wonderful state and city, but that we are so accepting of mediocrity that thousands of other people just like my wife and I face the very real prospect of growing old without having any family around.
I know, most of you don’t care. You have your lives and I understand that. But just be reminded, the life misfortune that has befallen my wife and I is lurking right there behind you. As a state we are just one recession away from a job crisis so deep that you too may be swept along in the unrelenting tide of losing your loved ones and friends to opportunities in Texas or Florida, opportunities that don’t exist here.
Yes, I am against the re-election of John Bel Edwards. I am against his re-election not because of who he is, I am against it because of what he stands for. I am against that he just accepts that we will always be last, I am against that our best and brightest have to move away in growing numbers and that he seems to believe that that is just the way it must be, I am convinced that his policies of doing the same things over and over, just with higher taxes, will not result in any better outcomes.
Yes, I am against John Bel Edwards and I will vote for Eddie Rispone because I am disgusted with our state’s malaise and policies of defeat and cronyism that only promise continued decline.
It is too late for my wife and I. Our children have found new homes and are very happy with their prospects. Their lives are full of opportunity and hope for a bright future. We can’t offer that to them, so all we can do is wish them well and save money to buy airline tickets.
When you decide on whom to vote for this Saturday, please consider its significance to all your friends and family, those that are still here. Remember that their prospects for better incomes and prosperity really does rely on whom we elect as governor and that your vote really does count.
It’s too late for my family, I hope that it’s not too late for yours.