Do you remember the first election in which you were of age to register and cast your vote? I do. I was 18-years-old, and I simply could not wait for election day. The first presidential election in which I was able to cast my vote was the 1980 election between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter. I was 19 by then and again, I simply couldn’t wait to get to the polls. In fact, even to this very day, I try to be the first one in my precinct to vote.
Our vote is ultra important. Voting is a privilege and a responsibility. But most importantly, voting is a right guaranteed to us by our constitution as citizens of the United States. In my opinion, our right to vote should never be taken for granted or viewed with an attitude of non-significance.
Lots of my childhood memories involve political elections. My first recollection of national politics as a young child goes back to my memories of my Dad being so interested in the presidential election of 1968. In this campaign cycle, presidential candidate George Wallace came to Shreveport for a political rally. My Dad attended this event.
I also remember my grandmother being upset with my Dad for the way he voted in Louisiana’s 1971 gubernatorial race. And, I remember being at Airline Viking stadium on the night of the presidential elections in both 1976 and 1980. In 1976, it was a freezing cold November night when Jimmy Carter was elected. Then again, four years later on the night that Ronald Reagan was elected. I was there both times for the annual District 8 High School Marching Band competition.
In my high school/college days, I was a campaign volunteer in a 4th District congressional race, a local mayors race, and a Louisiana gubernatorial race. I remember how upset I was in early 1990’s about having to forego casting my vote in a local election. I had been in Southeast Texas on that particular Saturday delivering appliance/furniture products for my family’s business. I had planned to vote when I got back late that afternoon. What I didn’t plan on was mechanical difficulties with our company’s big box truck that I was driving. I didn’t get back home until around 9 p.m. that Saturday night. That is why to this day, if I think there is anything that is going to prevent me from voting on election day, I vote early. Speaking of which, early voting runs now through Saturday, Oct. 5. Early voting times are 8:30 a. m. to 6 p.m. for each of these days.
Of course, the biggest political race on this year’s statewide election ballot in Louisiana is the election for governor. The first televised gubernatorial debate was televised last Thursday night. There are three more gubernatorial debates scheduled to be held featuring the three major candidates. I strongly urge you to follow these events.
In this 2019 election cycle, on a statewide basis, Bossier Parish voters will have the opportunity to cast their votes for: Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry and Commissioner of Insurance.
Locally, Bossier Parish voters will go to the polls to cast their votes for: State Senators for Districts 36 and 37 ; State Representatives for Districts 1 and 10; a District Judge position for the 26th Judicial District and Bossier Parish Police Juror for Districts 2, 3, and 6. Local races for Board of Elementary and Secondary Education District 4; State Representative in Districts 2, 6, 8 and 9; Bossier Parish Sheriff; Bossier Parish Clerk of Court; Bossier Parish Tax Assessor; Bossier Parish Coroner and Bossier Parish Police Jury in Districts 1, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 were all unopposed.
There are also four constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot: 1.) Ad Valorem taxes, 2.) Our educational excellence fund, 3.) The protection of taxpayers by requiring a remedy in the law for the prompt recovery of any unconstitutional tax paid and allowing the jurisdiction of the Board of Tax Appeals to extend to matters concerning the constitutionality of taxes and 4.) The exemption of property in Orleans Parish from all or part of the ad valorem taxes associated with the promotion of affordable housing.
Some people say that there is always an upcoming election in Louisiana. As such, our state is well known (even on the national stage) for it’s politics. Accordingly, this is a big election year in Louisiana. Our Louisiana statewide elections for governor and several other key statewide elected offices will determine the course and direction of our state for not only the next four years, but for many years to come. as well as many local elected offices. And, next year, Americans will face our next presidential/national election.
Once again, to say that these political races are important is an understatement. Study the candidates. Study the issues. Make your best informed decision. In all elections, the course of our future as a city, parish, state and nation depends upon your vote. Election Day in Louisiana is Saturday October 12, 2019. However, I strongly urge you to vote early, if you possibly can. Either way, just vote! Don’t ever miss any opportunity to cast your vote…to make your voice heard loud and clear! It’s important! It’s our future!
Randy Brown is publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org