As noted in the June 17, 2015 issue of the BPT, Burns’ legislative assistant, Dodie Horton, is running to replace her boss for the last eight years as House District 9 representative.
And so is Haughton resident Mike McHalffey.
McHalffey is retired from the Bossier Parish school system, is a small businessman, and serves as the Bossier City representative to the Louisiana Racing Commission. In his career with the school system, McHalffey coached football and track, and taught Social Studies and Special Education.
His 24 years as a Bossier Parish educator was spent at Bossier High School and Elm Grove Middle School.
McHalffey said that he doesn’t believe that teachers “ … have been getting the representation that they need over the last eight years.”
“We need to eliminate Common Core completely,” he said. “When the feds want to control education in Louisiana, it’s wrong.”
He is also very concerned about basing teacher evaluations on Common Core testing, saying “That’s absolutely wrong.”
As a small businessman, McHalffey believes that lawmakers need to encourage small business owners, and give them a tax break. He said that small businesses are taxed so high that they aren’t growing like they could with reductions in their taxes.
McHalffey is also a supporter of finding ways to better structure tax rates for the oil and gas industry, saying that the state would bring in more tax dollars. He’s a strong advocate for reducing state spending and cited areas such as re-vamping state management systems, pointing to the recent statistic showing that 22 percent of state civil service managers manage only one employee.
McHalffey expressed deep concern for Louisiana’s fiscal state, saying “ … the budget is horrible, and we really have a spending problem.” He said that eight years ago the state budget was in the black with a $1 billion surplus – and now we’re suffering a $1.7 billion deficit.”
Finally, McHalffey wants to encourage economic growth that will allow young people to find jobs here at home.
McHalffey and wife Darlene, also a Bossier Parish educator, have two sons –Taylor and Austin.
District 9 voters will want spend more time than just a cursory visit with both candidates for this seat. As in other contested legislative races, the winner of this one will join state lawmakers in the spring for yet another difficult legislative session. It’s already anticipated that the state will end the fiscal year at least $100 million in the red – and worse, the Louisiana Revenue Estimating Conference predicts the state will face a $717 million deficit in the 2016-17 budget.
Marty Carlson is a columnist for the BPT. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.