Billy Nungesser Is About To Be Governor For A Week, And He Should Do These Things…

One of the interesting quirks about Louisiana’s position of Lieutenant Governor is found in Section 19 of Article IV of the state constitution…

Section 19. When the governor is temporarily absent from the state, the lieutenant governor shall act as governor. When any other statewide elected official is temporarily absent from the state, the appointed first assistant shall act in his absence.

This is relevant for next week, as on Sunday the governor, John Bel Edwards, traipses off to Scotland for a climate change conference at which he (and New Orleans mayor LaToya Cantrell, as it turns out) will waste money hanging with the global Great Reset mob to discuss ways of trashing the First World economy in order to bring on socialism. We could do an entire post just on that, and next week we might.

But while Edwards is gone, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser will take over the job. He might not be moving into the Governor’s Mansion, but he does get to assume the duties of the governor for a week.

This means opportunity is in the air should Nungesser, a Republican who is all but an announced candidate for governor in 2023, be willing to take it.

Politically, he ought to use the next several days as an audition. There are things he ought to do which, because they would cause Edwards such political pain to reverse them when he returns to Louisiana, might well change state policy. Doing them would mark Nungesser as a decisive leader and someone the 45 percent of the Louisiana electorate who votes consistently conservative could consider getting behind.

Attorney General Jeff Landry, who so far is Nungesser’s most substantial opponent (defined, if nothing else, in terms of money raised and banked), tweeted yesterday a suggestion which came off a bit like an attack…

As Jeff Sadow noted earlier this week, Edwards dropped most of his stupid and unscientific mask mandate, but he left in place a confusing caveat involving school kids – who are far less likely to contract symptomatic COVID-19 than the people now free to roam about maskless.

Yet the worst of the climb-down continued punishing children. Edwards, who from the start of the pandemic has put politics ahead of science, still wanted to keep the mandate on children in schools, but recognized the tenuousness of his case and so made it contingent by school district – assuming he has the authority to dictate this at all which is highly questionable.

Even here, in order to opt out he wants districts to follow the Centers for Disease Control’s two-week quarantine advice – which does little to impede transmission but a lot to disrupt learning, which is why recently Superintendent of Schools Cade Brumley followed the practice of the majority of states recently recommended against that. Even as it upset a couple of members of his employer the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, it appears the BESE majority won’t buck him on this, and hopefully districts will go without masks and follow Brumley’s lead, in essence telling Edwards to pound sand rather than feel compelled to keep up the child abuse.

Nungesser could very easily issue an executive order clarifying that there is no mask mandate anywhere in Louisiana unless imposed by a local government. He doesn’t need to torch the public health emergency as Landry suggests, though doing so would be a nice bonus. If he were to do that, he would bring a great deal of common sense to the mask/no mask quandary parents of school kids across Louisiana have been in for months now, and he would be empowering school administrators to come up with approaches which work for their students and employees without the heavy hand of the governor in the way.

It’s good policy, and it would put Louisiana in line with our neighbors. If Edwards were to reverse it when he returns, he’d look like a tyrant and a jackass, and he would bring on the wrath of the parents in the same week that wrath will likely immolate Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign in Virginia. Let’s see him go there.

A second executive order Nungesser could issue is a requirement, similar to the one Greg Abbott just signed in Texas following successful passage of a bill by that state’s legislature, that children must play youth sports according to their biological gender. Louisiana’s legislature passed more or less that same bill in both houses with what looked like a veto-proof majority this summer, but Edwards vetoed it and then broke several arms of House Democrats in order to sustain the veto. Were Nungesser to sign an executive order banning boys from girls’ sports in Louisiana it might well be challenged in court, and Edwards might well rescind the order. But he would be signaling that a Gov. Nungesser would have Louisiana in line with Texas on a topic in which the vast majority of the public sides against the woke Left.

And Edwards rescinding the order would make national headlines pegging him as a national Democrat rather than the centrist he’s pretended to be since 2015. It’s a great fight to have and a great way for Nungesser to build his brand as a conservative.

There are a number of other actions he could take, but among them is one Nungesser could make a permanent mark with and it’s highly unlikely Edwards – or anyone else – would do anything about it.

Namely, at a police yard in the Almonaster section of New Orleans sits two of the city’s formerly most prominent historical landmarks. Namely, the Robert E. Lee and P.G.T. Beauregard statues which contributed greatly to New Orleans’ aesthetic and cultural landscape. The idiot leftist Mitch Landrieu vandalized both monuments and stashed the statues in that police yard four years ago, and they’ve been gathering cobwebs ever since.

Billy Nungesser, as Lt. Governor, is in charge of both the office of state parks and the office of culture and tourism. What Nungesser ought to do is to scare up a posse of state troopers, a small crane or a forklift, and a flatbed truck, and bring them to that police yard to rescue those statues and transport them out of Orleans Parish.

He can argue, at least in Beauregard’s case, that the statue was taken from a state park – which City Park, where it formerly stood, is – and therefore the statue rightfully belongs under the Lt. Governor’s control. The Lee statue is a bit less legally available. But here’s the thing: nobody is going to stop Billy Nungesser if he, as acting governor, takes those two statues.

Cantrell will be in Scotland. She’ll be at the hotel bar at the Gleneagles resort, and she isn’t going to leave her tequila sunrise to engage a long-distance fight with Billy Nungesser over a pair of statues she doesn’t want anyway. She’d probably privately thank him for taking those problems off her hands.

Neither will Edwards, who has dodged the monument controversy from the get-go by claiming it’s a local issue. Edwards also knows that more than two thirds of the people of Louisiana objected to those monuments coming down.

Nungesser can announce he’s brought Beauregard to Chalmette, where he was born and raised, and that the Office of State Parks will build an exhibit to reintroduce the statue to the public. St. Bernard State Park is a good way downriver from Chalmette Battlefield, which is a national park rather than a state park; it might be a lot better from a tourism perspective if the statue went up at Chalmette Battlefield. But all that can be worked out.

As for Lee, there are lots of places he could go up. Our suggestion is that the Lee statue should be trucked across Lake Ponchartrain to Fontainebleau State Park just east of the Ponchartrain Causeway along the lakeshore, and put on a pedestal high enough that the statue can be seen from the road. That would promote the park and also tourism in St. Tammany Parish.

Nungesser could defend against any “woke” criticism he might get by saying that his job as Lt. Governor is to promote culture and tourism, and that wasting cultural assets like those two statues is a wrong he set right when he had the power to do so. And he can also make the case that New Orleans built a world-class tourism industry while Lee and Beauregard were prominent figures in the city’s landscape, and that tourism industry isn’t enhanced since they were taken down, so any argument that Lee and Beauregard are net negatives has no evidence behind it.

It takes a little bit of sand to engage that argument, but it’s a winner – particularly with Louisiana’s voters.

Will Nungesser do any of this? We have no idea. He should, though. If he were to do these things, and several others like them, he would signal that he has the mettle to make the kinds of changes Louisiana will need from its next governor, and he would begin to merit consideration for our support in 2023.

Not to do anything with the opportunity he’s being given would indicate otherwise.

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