Lt. Governor Candidates Make Their Case

Oct 13, 2015

Lt. Governor candidates (L to R): Billy Nungesser, John Young, Kip Holden, Elbert Guillory
Credit S. Lincoln

The quartet of candidates seeking the state’s number two office faced the Baton Rouge Press Club Monday. 

State Senator Elbert Guillory says he’s running for Lt. Governor because “I just need a louder voice and a bigger stick.”

Asked whether he favors having the Department of Economic Development under the purview of the Lt. Governor, as many other states do, Guillory replied, “I would not ask that economic development be transferred to the Lt. Governor’s office at this time. The Lt. Governor needs to help the Governor work through the budgetary problems that are going to be fierce this coming year.”

Guillory does want the Lt. Governor to truly become the number two elected position in the state, however.

“The Lt. Governor needs to be a full player in all aspects of Louisiana’s policy setting and management,” the Opelousas Republican says.

Asked whether he would keep the Lt. Governor’s state police security detail, it’s clear Guillory is very conscious of the whole “one heartbeat away” thing.

“I will have a small security detail, without question,” Guillory states. “The Lt. Governor is second in command. If the Governor goes down, the Lt. Governor has to step up.”

Democrat Kip Holden cites his record as Baton Rouge mayor as reason to consider him for Lt. Governor.

“Look at all we’ve built in Baton Rouge. Then take a look at what’s happening in north Louisiana -- small villages turning into ghost towns. Why let them vanish?”

Holden says he’d use the position to help save those towns by soliciting businesses to move in and help those communities.

“There’s no line stuck in cement that says you can’t, as Lt. Governor, go out and recruit industry to come to Louisiana,” Holden says.

He wouldn’t appoint someone to fill the position of Tourism Secretary, but he would keep the state police security detail.

“You basically have to have security around you. There are people who tend to want to prove how big and bad they are by taking out these officials,” Holden states.

Former Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser says he found out how other parts of the state feel during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

“All eyes were on New Orleans, and it made me angry,” Nungesser says. When it comes to tourism, that’s a lesson learned.

“I’ve been around the state, and some of these areas of the state are feeling left out.”

He says he’ll do without a Tourism Secretary, and oversee the Economic Development Department, if asked to do so.

“I would be willing to take on the extra duties.”

As for security, “I don’t see the need for the Lt. Governor to have a full-time detail. Absolutely not,” Nungesser says.

Jefferson Parish president John Young agrees.

“Right now I think we need all of our troopers on the street,” Young says.

Part of his campaign has been a promise not to appoint a Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, rather to take on the work himself. He also thinks economic development partners well with tourism.

“The Lt. Governor’s office is a net producer of revenue. For every dollar we invest in tourism, we get a $38 return,” Young states. “So yes, I would like to see the Lt. Governor do more in economic development.”

As for why he’s running?

“You can go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. You can go to Poverty Point, a World Heritage site. You can fish the Gulf from Grand Isle, and Toledo Bend has some of the nation’s best bass fishing. But somehow we’ve never lived up to our full potential,” Young says. “I want to make this great state an even better place to live, work, raise a family, visit and retire.”