Editorial: Compromise, common sense still highly valued in this state

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.

 

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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.