And the winner of the Iowa Straw Poll is …. Jeff Landry

State Attorney General Jeff Landry was winner of the Iowa, Louisiana, Straw Poll held Saturday in the Iowa High School gym.

“The event is a tribute to the state of Iowa Caucus,” said Roby Dyer, president of Lake Charles Southwest Republican Women. “It’s a way to provide information to constituents to help them make informed decisions on election day. Today, they’ll select the one candidate on the ballot they believe is the best to lead our state as governor for the next four years.”

State Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, came in second place based on the number of votes. Former Louisiana Association of Business and Industry CEO Stephen Waguespack was third. 

Voters were also able to write-in the name of their choice for the next U.S. President. Donald Trump was the winner with 121 votes. Florida Governor Ron Desantis was the runner-up with 27 votes. 

Other candidates on the election ballot who spoke at the event were state Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, and Louisiana State Treasurer John M. Shroeder. 

More than 500 tickets were sold for the event; 250 were turned in with votes at the event hosted jointly by the Republican Women of Southwest Louisiana and the Republican Parish Executive Committee.  

Dyer said the event gives constituents the opportunity to hear candidates’ plans to fix state issues that keep Louisiana at the bottom of the country. 

The State’s Attorney General told the crowd that Louisiana has three cities that are at the top of the country’s list for the most crimes. Landry said as governor, he could “make Louisiana a safe place.” His fix included the promise to put parents back in charge of education, and make sure teachers and the  energy industry are respected. 

“But we’re going to work for all the industries that built this state,” he said. “If we do this, business will come here organically. We won’t do it, you’ll do it.” 

Thirty-seven-year old Richard Nelson’s focus is on getting rid of the state income tax, giving local governments more say thus getting rid of 100 years of Huey Long politics, paying high-quality teachers a competitive salary, making sure children can read before they’re advanced, childhood learning initiatives to mitigate poverty  and more competitive insurance rates for Louisiana residents. 

He has brought bills on a comprehensive tax modeled after states that are growing and his bill for improving reading outcomes for third graders will go into effect soon. 

“In St. Helena Parish, a teacher with 20 years experience makes $33,700 a year,” he said, adding that he didn’t think that is the kind of pay that would draw a high-quality teacher. 

This year, when Nelson got his insurance bill, premiums had gone up 50 percent. His neighbor’s insurance company did not offer renewal at all. Nelson said other states have good models that offer average insurance rates – lower than rates here  – and that could be replicated here. 

Waguespack wants to change the culture of low expectations that has washed over this state, he said. 

He detailed a plan for change that included making sure younger students develop soft skills then learn civics, cooperation and teamwork.  

“When these students are in high school, then we’ll launch them in a career or technical trade,” he said. 

To lower crime, he promised to hire  more cops “back them up, pay them and tell them thank you for doing the most heroic and brave job there is in the state.” 

“They deserve the technology to do those jobs and the facilities to take juveniles off the street for remediation or incarceration,” he said, “whatever is required to keep them off the streets. 

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