Lundy, Wilson only candidates at Sierra Club gubernatorial forum
Published 9:54 am Saturday, September 23, 2023
The Sierra Club Delta Chapter held a gubernatorial forum on Wednesday to discuss “kitchen-table issues,” such as insurance rate and affordable housing.
All candidates that are polling at least two percent or whose name was placed in a poll not listed as “other” were reached out to, according to the Sierra Club. The only two candidates that participated in the forum were Hunter Lundy (Independent) and Shawn Wilson (D).
Email newsletter signup
Lundy stated that he would focus on creating public-private partnerships to “attack poverty,” which would lead to a cleanup and rebuild process.
He would also “challenge” utility and energy companies, condemning bill spikes and additional fees that followed the hurricanes of 2020 and 2021.
“I think they should be an insurable party just like the rest of the community of Louisiana. If we have to pay insurance, they have to pay for insurance. We’ve got to stop putting that cost on the backs of the people.”
Wilson said affordable housing is the key to building wealth in Louisiana. He stated he would partner with housing corporations and private developers to assure future developments meet the needs of Louisiana citizens. He also emphasized that locating housing in safe areas with access to resources is vital.
“We’ve got to be committed to fair housing and affordable housing and ensure that it’s not just in urban areas, but it’s in rural areas. … We’ve got to provide better accommodations for our citizens to live in and housing is the most important element to that.”
Flood mitigation and wetland protection
The last 25 years of his 40-year career as lawyer have been spent “helping environmentally deprived neighborhoods that have been economically deprived and affected by industry,” Lundy said.
He noted the 740 toxic sites and 140 municipalities and towns in Louisiana that have contaminated drinking water. He said he is committed to “compliance and accountability” for industry.
“It’s going to take a leader to attack this thing … the right storm could end up with a toxic gumbo for the people in Louisiana.”
Wilson said he expects to work with state agencies to ensure they have better planning decisions and local governments for zoning purposes.
He noted the importance of thoughtful planning.
“I think when you look at our climate action plan, and the efforts to be more resilient and more responsible in terms with how we deal with water and how we deal with infrastructure. It allows us to be in a much better place.”
If elected, he plans to modernize drainage infrastructure and make public works investments to keep local infrastructure systems up to date.
“We failed to do those things, and we understand that we are way below capacity for what we need to do. We need to get back into the business of managing waterways.”
Lundy said he is opposed to any legislation that would adjust home insurance rates more than once a year and supports legislation proposed by state senators that would separate Louisiana from Risk Rating 2.0.
He said he has a game plan to bolster insurance options in the state that are supported by his insider understanding of the industry.
“I am not operating out of fear like a lot of politicians are. I know that these insurance companies will come back and I know that we can negotiate fair rates. … I understand what they do. I know what profits they make.”
Wilson said that the insurance crisis is impacting families across Louisiana “regardless of race, geography, income or zip code.”
He would address the “issue of competition” by instituting a national approach to insurance and is in support of passing laws to protect families. He would also call for more transparency and commitment with Risk Rating 2.0.
“We cannot afford to continue to bankroll big insurance companies because they want to make more profits. We have to be thoughtful in terms of these common sense laws that we need to put in place.”
Wilson said he has a “fix it first” approach when it comes to the infrastructure projects in Louisiana, and stated that the legislature’s poor appropriation of funds to “maintain the type of deterioration that we’re seeing” have led to deferred maintenance and the large backlog of DOTD projects.
In regards to mega projects, it is affordable to be thoughtful, he said.
“We cannot build our way out of congestion and not build our way into prosperity. We have to be thoughtful of how to do this affordably. … All of the projects that we have advocated are those that have been constitutionally mandated or part of the highway priority program.”
Wilson said he would prioritize safety and maintenance.
Lundy said he is a “doer, and not a talker.” He emphasized the importance of repairing bridges and roads, and said that he would create a priority list and timeline to address the backlog.
“We need to act. We need to act soon. … We gotta quit being a bureaucracy, worrying about the process more than the goal. ”