November 16, 2015

John Bel Edwards: More Liberal Than Mary Landrieu

Less than a year ago, Louisianans voted out former Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, despite her famous family name and attempt to portray herself as a centrist. Analysis following the election agreed that Landrieu’s record was simply too liberal for Louisiana.

John Bel Edwards, a leader of the liberal wing of his party in the Louisiana legislature, has tried to re-brand himself in his run for governor, but the record shows that Edwards is far to the left of Landrieu on key issues important to Louisiana voters..

Ways Edwards Is To The Left Of Landrieu:

1. Anti-School Choice

Mary Landrieu was supportive of charter schools and supported them for providing opportunities for low-income students, saying in 2014: “Charter schools bring promise and opportunity to families and communities that might not otherwise have it.”

Edwards is anti-school choice and has been an opponent of charter schools. In 2014, he introduced a bill in the state legislature that would place severe limitations on new charter schools opening, despite their proven success. Edwards voted to suppress educational opportunities for low-income students when he opposed landmark legislation to create $10 million in private and parochial school scholarships for New Orleans children living in poverty. Luckily for Louisiana, the bill passed in spite of Edwards’ opposition.

Edwards is so extreme he even opposes public school choice. He sided with the teachers unions to fight a 2010 measure giving local schools freedom to request waivers from certain state rules to improve “academic achievement,” agitating that it would create “havoc” – again, he was unsuccessful.

2. Bad For Louisiana Businesses

Mary Landrieu’s support for President Obama’s liberal policies were hardly helpful to Louisiana businesses, but she still supported enough pro-business measures to receive a 68 percent lifetime score from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and even got the Chamber’s endorsement in 2008.

Edwards, on the other hand, is one of the least business-friendly legislators in the state. He recently received an “F” rating from The Louisiana Association of Business And Industry (LABI), the state’s top advocate for small business owners. His rating made him the 14th worst legislator – out of 144 – for business in the 2015 session. When pressed on his record in the November 10, 2015 runoff debate, Edwards doubled down:

For the many Louisianans who voted against Landrieu in 2014 due to her weak record on jobs and the economy, John Bel Edwards would be their worst nightmare.

3. Weak On Louisiana’s Oil & Gas Industry

Louisiana’s oil and gas industry is a vital part of the state’s economy, and Mary Landrieu recognized this. Her push to force legislation through the U.S. Senate backing the Keystone XL pipeline was seen by many as a move to shore up her reelection campaign, but at least she was willing to stand up to President Obama when there was actually a chance of getting something done.

Edwards, on the other hand, displayed a stunning lack of political courage by claiming token support for Keystone only after President Obama blocked it – the very definition of “too little, too late.” A potential explanation for Edwards’ position of convenience is that ultra-liberal environmental activist Tom Steyer is a top donor to the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), which has poured money and staff resources into the race on Edwards’ behalf. Edwards hobnobbed with DGA donors at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. last month.

The record is clear; John Bel Edwards isn’t a Louisiana-style Democrat, he’s a Washington-style liberal who represents the left wing of a Party that is out of touch with Louisiana voters on issue after issue. If Louisianans had buyer’s remorse for Mary Landrieu, they should leave John Bel Edwards on the shelf.