We did this in the primary, and we’re more than happy to do it again: The Hayride enthusiastically endorses Public Service Commissioner Eric Skrmetta for re-election.
Skrmetta came out of a rather crowded primary which contained three Republican challengers who it appears spent more than $300,000 based on available campaign finance reports with a sizable lead. The four Republicans in the race combined for 65 percent of the vote in PSC District 1, and Skrmetta accounted for most of it despite a race which, frankly, was a lot nastier than it should have been.
Skrmetta won for good reason. People don’t pay all that much attention to what happens at the Public Service Commission, but they know one thing: Skrmetta has cut Louisiana’s electric utility rates to the lowest in the nation for both residential and industrial users.
That alone is reason to re-elect him. But there’s a larger reason as well, and we’ll get to that below.
When Skrmetta was elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission 12 years ago, our state ranked 26th in the nation in highest utility rates. During his time in office and through his dogged determination, he’s saved ratepayers over $8 billion in his two terms, and today our utility rates are an astonishing 35% less than the national average.
Eric Skrmetta is also a prominent national policymaker when it comes to utility regulatory matters. He serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), the national association representing the State Public Service Commissioners focused on assuring reliable utility service at fair, just and reasonable rates. Eric also serves as NARUC’s liaison to the White House offering policy positions that have been adopted by the nation’s regulators.
Eric developed new power plants to help improve Louisiana’s energy efficiency. He oversaw utility company emergency preparedness plans to help accelerate restoration of lost power. He encouraged utility companies to enhance pre-storm preparations like tree-trimming and more. He set higher quality-control standards for Louisiana’s taxi industry. He improved water systems across the district and demanded transparency by showing line-item costs on all utility bills. He even protected prison telephone monitoring systems to keep criminals from being able to use telecommunications to threaten witnesses or direct new crimes.
He’s done more than enough to merit re-election. But, as said above, turning out a big number for Eric Skrmetta is about more than the PSC right now.
The district Skrmetta represents more or less mirrors Congressman Steve Scalise’s district. It votes heavily Republican. But this is an unusual time, and no time to take Eric’s re-election for granted. Especially given that the balance of power on the PSC is at stake. A Republican challenger to Shreveport-area Longite Democrat Foster Campbell ran a flaccid campaign and fell short of a 53-47 result in a very winnable race, so the PSC will have either three Republicans and two Democrats or the reverse after this election.
That means either a one-vote majority for low utility rates and the personal freedom that comes with a bit more disposable income, or more of the same destructive, demagogic politics we see emanate from John Bel Edwards and our so-called President-Elect Joe Biden, both of whom are so power-mad that they’ve actually demanded the cancellation of Thanksgiving. The COVID overreach and the attempted Great Reset it masks and the PSC are related; both represent an opportunity and a threat for voters to choose freedom and private property over obnoxious, intrusive, incompetent politically-driven governance.
Skrmetta going back in with a huge number is the last opportunity voters in southeastern Louisiana will have this year to demonstrate that living with underhanded agendas by political hogs at the trough like solar panel companies and climate-change loons is unacceptable. We refuse to accept it. Join us and let’s send a message by re-electing him to fight for us for six more years.