Governor John Bel Edwards has been forced into a run-off election with a Republican candidate supported by President Donald Trump.
It doesn’t matter who Governor Edwards’ opponent is; if President Donald Trump backs him, it means bad news for the working poor.
Louisiana is the only Southern State with a Democratic Governor, and the President and the Republican Party wants to change that.
The Governor’s opponent won his run-off slot running on a platform of God, Country, and Donald Trump. Although he is a successful businessman, there is absolutely nothing in his program that will benefit the working poor in this state.
Who are the working poor? The “working poor” are people who spend 27 weeks or more in a year in the labor force, either working or looking for work but whose incomes fall below the established poverty level.
The working poor consists of all races. Nationally, it 11.7% black, 11.7 Hispanic or Latino, 5.5% white and 4.3 Asian
Most of the working poor are high school graduates, but find themselves trapped in low wage jobs. Many work as many as three jobs, just to make ends meet.
The working poor find it hard to pay their rent and utilities and get health care. They want to do more but can’t.
The only hope the working poor has is that the government removes roadblocks to their upward mobility. That means they need access to higher education, job training and opportunities a living wage, and childcare.
In Louisiana, 42 percent of the registered voters are Democrats. Only 31% of the state’s voters are Republicans. Nearly all of the state’s Black voters are registered Democrats. A large portion of the state’s working poor are Democrats as well; Black, Hispanic, Latino, White, or Asian.
It would appear that since 42% of the state consists of registered Democrats that the Governor shouldn’t have a problem being re-elected.
Unfortunately, for the Governor, many of those he represents did not vote in the last election, leaving him to the mercy of Republicans who voted in large numbers, responding to “their” President’s visits to the state, campaigning against the Governor.
The Governor is crisscrossing the state speaking to those who are sensitive to the state’s future and the issues important to the working poor.
He’s meeting with elected officials, pastors, and civic leaders to educate them on his track record and to warn them of one word that should anger every working person, “Trump.”
The Republican candidate is not trying to meet with working people or their leaders. He could care less. He’s a billionaire, so he mostly funds his own campaign and wraps himself in a “Make America Great Again” cape to become the Republican Parties Louisiana Superman.
Public education in our state is disastrous. The Republicans gave us “Common Core” standards that focus on testing and watered down high school diplomas called “Tops Tech.” Very few parents in working poor families can help their children with homework, and many are told to prepare to enter the workforce as entry level laborers, not thinkers and leaders.
The minimum wage in the state needs to be raised. A Democratic Governor can keep the issue on the table, although the Republican legislature will probably vote it down. If there is a Republican governor, increasing the minimum wage won’t even be discussed.
The working poor have a lot at stake; for us, it’s almost life or death. For Republicans, it’s a matter of profit and loss; for the most part, they are not among the working poor.
Minorities only voted at roughly 30 percent in the last election. If we have voted at 40 percent, the Governor would have won re-election.
It means that the working poor must resolve to vote in the next election.
The Governor has been good for the state, balanced its budgets, kept major industries in the state, and expanded health care for over 400,000 people. Unlike his opponent, he has shown that he is accessible to those who represent the working poor and has tried to respond.
We, the working poor, should rise up and let our voices be heard.