Lieutenant governor candidate speaks

Published 8:57 am Friday, September 11, 2015

Louisiana lieutenant govenor candidate John Young, R-Metairie, said he had to hit the ground running when he was elected Jefferson Parish President in 2009.

Young, who addressed the Washington Parish Republican Women at Maria’s Restaurant on Wednesday, said several parish officials had been indicted by the state on corruption charges. The indicted officials included the former parish president, the former Chief Accounting Officer and former parish president.

Young won in a special election that was called for in October 2010. He was sworn in 10 days afterward and became responsible for the second largest parish in the state of Louisiana.

“The first thing I wanted to do was re-establish the trust of citizens,” Young said. “I cancelled all government credit cards and asked the executive staff to sign a pledge that the job they had would be their only full-time employment.”

The primary election is scheduled for Oct. 24, while the general election is scheduled for Nov. 21. Young is running against three other opponents, who include Belle Chasse Republican Billy Nungesser, Baton Rouge Democrat Melvin “Kip” Holden and Opelousas Republican Elbert Lee Guillory. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne is campaigning for governor.

After he took office as Jefferson Parish President, Young said he was proud to establish the Office of Inspector General.

“I did it without new taxes. It institutionalized reforms for years to come,” Young said. “It’s now in the charter. It was a major step forward in ethics reform.”

Young said his desire is to make Louisiana a better place for all citizens, not just those who live in New Orleans.

“I want to be part of a team by working with the new governor and legislature to ensure a better and stronger future for ourselves as well as our children and grandchildren,” he said.

Young gave a brief account of the duties of the lieutenant governor.

“The lieutenant governor is in charge of the state’s Culture, Recreation and Tourism Department,” he said. “Regarding the cultural aspect, those budgets in past years have been cut. We need to change that find the money to do it.

“I’ve toured every state park in the state and the budgets and staff have been cut.  With all the tourists we have, state parks are assets and an economic engine for the parishes they’re in.

Young provided some statistics regarding how tourism affected the state last year.

He said tourism brought in $11.2 billion last year and the department has 223,000 employees. He said $836 million was generated to the State Treasury.

“That $836 million can be used to generate goods and services,” Young said. “The lieutenant govenor’s office is a net producer of revenue. We want to make sure every part of the state gets that tourism dollar. New Orleans is not the end all be all, but it is the magnet. If we don’t get the crime in control, we’re going to kill the Golden Goose.”

Franklinton’s Beth Mizell, a candidate for District 12 state Senate, addressed the audience as well as Merlin Duke and Chris Workman, both candidates for Parish Council from District 3. Both live in Bogalusa and are looking to fill the seat of Dr. Chuck Nassauer, who is running for state representative from District 75.

“Washington Parish is what drives me to run,” Mizell said. “Everything we want to do is dependent on changes in the legislature. This is an opportunity for the citizens of this district to send a conservative to Baton Rouge. I want to be your voice.”