On February 19, 2013, just over a thousand days ago, Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, announced on the Jim Engster show that he would be running for governor of Louisiana in 2015. From day one, members of the Northshore Democratic Women’s Club have been front and center, engaging with him on issues, volunteering, and donating to his campaign.
In 2011, the Louisiana Democratic Party fielded no viable statewide candidates. When new state party chair Karen Carter Peterson declared in 2012 that we were taking back the governor’s mansion in 2015, it seemed like a pipe dream. John Bel Edwards entered the race early. He and his whole family worked relentlessly for over two and a half years. By Election Day, the whole country gazed at Louisiana in awe. Was this really happening? Peterson’s bold prediction had come true: we had a Democratic Governor.
Other great things happened during this election. Louisiana’s two competing teacher’s organizations, the Louisiana Association of Educators (LAE) and the Louisiana Federation of Teachers (LFT) combined resources to endorse and campaign for John Bel. JBE’s strong showing in the primary brought in resources from national groups like the Democratic Governors Association, which were deployed to help with voter turnout all over the state. Strong women Democrats – Dr. Eileen Velez in Shreveport, Dr. Brenda Babin in Terrebonne Parish, and Ginger Vidrine in Lake Charles – ran for the Louisiana State House and Senate against terrible and entrenched incumbents. They didn’t win, but they stepped up.
Let’s enjoy this victory for a few days, then get ready to do it again. Qualifying for the St. Tammany Democratic Parish Executive Committee and the Democratic State Central Committee is December 2-4. What’s the job of both of these groups? Elect Democrats! Check the Louisiana Secretary of State’s web site for information about running. Registered Democrats will vote for these representatives on March 5, 2016, the same day we vote for the Democratic nomination for President.
Turning Louisiana purple is a long-term job. We can’t stop now.