If I could get the attention of John Bel Edwards, this is what I’d like to say to him.
Congratulations. I want you to know that I voted for you, even though I’m not a registered Democrat. No, I’m not a Republican either. I’m registered with the Green Party. I got together with some other local Greens, and we all decided to vote for you.
People often forget that there are five political parties recognized by the state of Louisiana, plus a whole slew of independents. Though we’re not registered with the majors, we are every bit as politically engaged, if not more so. As you aim to govern for all citizens of Louisiana, don’t neglect us.
Anyone paying attention would agree that our state faces many challenges. You made some campaign promises, such as expanding Medicaid and reducing our incarceration rate, which would represent positive steps for Louisiana, if only they can be accomplished. Let us know what we can do to help.
Beyond that, I’d urge you to consider some of the environmental issues that didn’t get a lot of attention in the campaign. These issues affect us all, regardless of politics, and many of us are concerned about the future of the planet as a whole.
Our state is washing out to sea at a rate that’s truly alarming, and our low-lying coastal communities are especially vulnerable to rising sea levels. Given our precarious state, Louisiana should be at the forefront of taking action on climate change. That means making the transition away from petrochemicals to renewable sources of energy.
Please do what you can to help us diversify Louisiana’s energy portfolio. Prioritize installation and maintenance of wind rigs and river turbine plants. When it comes to solar power, get Entergy Louisiana to take the cap off net-metering and give full value to customers who are putting solar energy into the grid.
Please don’t let the dry details of public policy obscure what is truly important. Louisiana is rich in natural ecosystems which have an integrity and value of their own. Plants and animals can’t vote, so it’s up to us humans to behave responsibly. Have you ever had that experience of awe at a beautiful landscape, that feeling of connection to other living beings? Please allow that sense of wonder to be one of the guiding principles of your governance.
Bart Everson is a writer, a photographer, a baker of bread, a husband, a father and a resident of Mid-City. He is a founding member of the Green Party of Louisiana, past president of Friends of Lafitte Greenway, and a participant in New Orleans Lamplight Circle. More at BartEverson.com