Our level of involvement regarding local, parish, and state issues has increased steadily over the past decade, from our initial involvement with the widening of Highway 190 from I-12 to the Bogue Falaya bridge, to supporting economic development incentives, fair property taxes, to statewide education reform. Like all citizens, we are sometimes surprised by political decisions, such as the governor’s surprise closure of Southeast Louisiana Hospital. But our volunteer business leaders do the best they can to inform our members and encourage them to vote, especially when the issues or candidate’s proposed policies will ultimately impact ability to conduct commerce.
They say all politics are local. That is hard to understand when we are facing a presidential election but it’s true. Much uncertainty is hanging locally based on the outcome of this national election.
Have you ever walked into the voting booth, facing a list of constitutional amendments, and having no clue about how to vote? Our governmental affairs committee met recently and State Rep. Paul Hollis was present to explain each of the nine amendments on the ballot as part of our public policy process.
Lines at the polls are often due to indecision about amendments! And, voters get confused because sometimes a no vote actually means you support it and a yes vote means you are against it. Confusing! Our committee members vetted each of the nine amendments and came up with recommendations to support or not, or take no position. Their recommendations were sent to our board for their consideration, and voted on this week.
Endorsements are common from newspapers and some political or business groups. While we do not endorse candidates because this is against our nonprofit tax status, our Chamber serves as the Voice of Business and often takes positions on issues. We have also come out in support of the local parish millage renewal for health services. Critical to maintaining needed services, it also provides for suicide prevention efforts in the parish.
Whoever your preferred presidential candidate is, please vote. Our only recommendation is to consider the best candidate that will set policies for job creation, a strong economy, and prevent our country from falling over the fiscal cliff.