Vance McAllister celebrates with his family and supporters after winning the 5th Congressional District election on Saturday. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Monday, November 18, 2013 6:01 PM
Drawing concrete conclusions from election results can be risky, but a central theme appeared to run through to high-profile ballot issues in Louisiana on Saturday.
Political neophyte Vance McAllister pulled off a stunner when he defeated state Sen. Neil Riser in a runoff for the 5th Congressional District seat. That McAllister won wasn’t the big surprise. The shocker was that the Monroe businessman, who had never held political office before, defeated Riser, who had the backing of Gov. Bobby Jindal, by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin.
Both are Republicans, but Riser ran to the right of McAllister, promising to vote for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. McAllister, recognizing that Democrats control both the U.S. Senate and White House, said repeal of Obamacare is not possible at the moment, hence he would work to improve it rather than scuttle it.
‘‘I’m representing the whole district,’’ he said. ‘‘I got Democrats, I got Republicans and I got independent votes. I think that’s what we got to get this country back to is representing everybody. I’m going to stick to my conservative values, but we’ve got to work together.’’
The election suggests 5th District voters preferred solutions to the nation’s issues, not stalemates.
In West Baton Rouge Parish, Port Allen Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter suffered the indignity of being recalled less than a year into serving in that position. Nearly two-thirds of all the city’s 4,055 qualified voters voted 57 percent-43 percent in favor of the recall.
Slaughter’s tenure was filled with controversy. She raised the ire of many Port Allen residents when shortly after taking office in January, she traveled to Washington, D.C. for President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, charging the city $2,500 for the foray.
That’s not all. She hired her brother-in-law, Ralph Slaughter, as her non-salaried chief of staff and tried to fire the city’s chief financial officer without City Council approval.
After a slew of city employees quit their jobs because they said Slaughter created a hostile work environment, she was sued by three of the Port Allen’s five city councilmen.
Earlier this month, she vetoed the City Council’s 2013-2014 budget, placing the city’s Fire Department in jeopardy of shutting down next week because of lack of funding.
The majority of Port Allen voters appear to want public service from their mayor without all the drama and self-serving decisions.
Elected officials of every stripe would be prudent to heed the messages from these two elections. Compromise and common sense still are highly valued by Louisiana voters.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Mike Jones, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.