Looks Like Shawn Wilson Jumps Into The Governor’s Race Next Month

We know – or at least suspect – this, because Wilson just gave his notice to the current governor John Bel Edwards that he’s quitting his current job on March 4.

A release from Edwards’ office…

On Wednesday, Feb. 15 Governor John Bel Edwards accepted a letter from DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson informing the Governor that Sec. Wilson will retire from state service effective March 4, 2023.

“Dr. Shawn Wilson has been the most effective DOTD secretary in state history,” said Governor Edwards. “Despite tremendous challenges with state revenue, devastating hurricanes, and the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 on our workforce and supply chain, Shawn has tackled important infrastructure projects that were previously only talked and dreamed about for decades. From the biggest, most high-profile projects along major interstates to less glamorous but equally important rural infrastructure, he has worked tirelessly to unleash our economic potential and improve quality of life for everyone in our state by making major improvements to our roads, bridges, ports, rail system, flood control, and more. His yeoman’s work will continue to bear fruit for years and years to come. He set a great example for future leaders of DOTD and our state by always focusing on what was best for our people and working across partisan, ideological, and regional divides to build consensus.”

The average state transportation secretary serves for three years, but Dr. Wilson served Louisiana in the role of secretary for more than seven and completed more than 16 years of executive service at DOTD. During his tenure as Secretary, the state invested nearly $5.5 billion in infrastructure projects around the state consisting of more than 2,230 projects compiling nearly 7,000 miles of improvements. Crucially, under Dr. Wilson’s leadership, Louisiana has finally addressed long-needed projects, from the planned Calcasieu River Bridge replacement to the Barksdale Interchange, widening of I-10, the elevation of LA-1, dredging of the Mississippi River and diversion of the Comite River, support for locally-owned bridges in need of repair, and so much more.

For his efforts, Sec. Wilson was recognized nationally when he was elected as the first African American president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in 2020-2021.

The thing is, there really aren’t very many road projects you can point to which have been started and finished in the seven-plus years Wilson has been on the job. That isn’t great. We’re absolutely blown away that the flyover ramps from I-10 into the New Orleans airport still aren’t completed; that’s the laziest construction project we’ve ever seen.

DOTD was a joke long before Shawn Wilson ran it, but it’s very much still a joke. Is Shawn Wilson a joke?

Well, let’s just say he has his detractors.

But after a bit of back-and-forth on the Democrat side, including an abortive and highly unimpressive feint at a gubernatorial run by party chair Katie Bernhardt, it looks like Wilson is going to be the chosen candidate for the Dems. Anybody who has both Edwards’ support and that of Gary Chambers is pretty obviously their guy.


And if you add Wilson to the current field (Jeff Landry, John Schroder, Sharon Hewitt, Richard Nelson, Hunter Lundy) and no one else gets in, you’re looking at a likely – but not inevitable, as Louisiana gubernatorial races have a way of becoming weird – Landry-Wilson runoff.

Which is likely to produce Jeff Landry as governor. And almost certainly a DOTD which will look a little different than it does now.



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