Four candidates will vie for the Louisiana House District 8 seat on March 25.
Michael “Duke” Lowrie, Robbie Gatti Jr., Raymond Crews, and Patrick Harrington will all vie for the seat. Lowrie, Gatti, and Crews are Bossier City Republicans; Harrington is a Republican from Benton.
The election will replace Congressman Mike Johnson, who vacated the seat after he was elected to the U.S. House in December 2016. The winner will serve out the remainder of Johnson’s term, which runs through 2019.
The Bossier Press-Tribune is speaking with all four candidates and asking them the following questions:
1. Why do you want to be a state representative?
2. Tell me what your priority will be for our area when it comes time to be in Baton Rouge…
3. Our state is in a recession and at a crossroads when it comes to our budget and revenue. What are your ideas about how to correct this and help bring everything back into balance?
4. Secondly, there are several issues we hear that are vitally important to Bossier residents – transportation, education, economic development – how will you go about ensuring that these are addressed and not tabled or cut due to state funding issues?
5. Our delegation has been vital to ensuring NWLA gets funding for projects here in Bossier. What are your plans to work with other fellow legislators from Bossier-Shreveport to ensure that NWLA isn’t looked over in favor of south Louisiana?
In today’s edition, you will read responses from Patrick J. Harrington.
1. I want to be the State Representative of District 8 because this is an opportunity to achieve real results in the fight for the future Louisiana that we want to live and work. For too long, we have allowed our state government to fail in exercising fiscal responsibility with its budget, and it is time that we demand long-term solutions. As state representative, I will be bold and unwavering in standing up for the principles of smaller and efficient government, lower taxes, reduced expenditures, and more economic freedom in the private sector. I will also be a strong advocate in protecting life and our God-given, constitutional rights, such as our religious liberties and right to bear arms.
2. My priority will be to fearlessly pursue liberty-based policies that favor the people of Louisiana over state government and free market-based policies that promote economic freedom and growth. I will also strive to empower our local governmental entities with more independence from the grip of state officials in Baton Rouge and to demand logical and evidence-based reasoning from those who desire further state governmental action or control. Lastly, I will aim to serve in an honest and honorable manner and to establish a higher standard for our elected public servants.
3. In essence, the government’s failure to provide a substantive, long-lasting solution to our budgetary issues is a tax on our future that continues to grow. Thus, we must not accept temporary funds to cover the ongoing, underlying structural problem with the state budget.
The crux of the problem is that the budget has too many expenditures, and the vast majority of these expenditures are essentially immune to adjusting to the amount of state revenue collected.
The solution should be to let the state’s budget be treated like a private citizen’s personal budget or a private business’ operating budget. This would mean that when there is not enough revenue to sustain current levels of spending, then adjustments must be made accordingly. From there, the legislature can take on the responsibility to decide whether to cut a certain percentage of funds across the board, to suspend particular programs, or to improve overall efficiency in how it spends taxpayers’ hard-earned money.
4. Until the state budget issues are effectively addressed, the fight for obtaining state funding will be difficult and unpredictable. As stated in the previous question, the legislature should take on the responsibility in prioritizing expenditures in the state budget. Not only would this allow for a more flexible budget, this approach would also give voters a greater opportunity to hold their elected officials accountable to the principles they purport to hold. Despite current uncertainty with the state budget, these important issues can also be addressed by our local governments and the private sector.
5. I intend to work with my fellow legislators from NWLA in standing up for fair allocation of funds to our area and involvement in influential roles in the legislature. This is best accomplished by ensuring that we are stand together on issues where we have common principles and by developing meaningful relationships with other legislators across the state that fully appreciate and respect the unique nature of our districts and region.