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Election Confusion


It always seems to be an election year in the Pelican State. But the current election situation is causing more confusion than usual.

This year, 2014, and next year, 2015, are both election years filled with important races. It is not surprising, therefore, that the two years are meshing together and have a lot of voters confused.

The problem is that candidates start campaigning months – sometime years – ahead of their election year. Consequently, candidates running in 2015 are already making noises and pronouncements along with those who will be on the November 4, 2014 ballot.

In an effort to clarify things, here is a look at what will be on the ballot in 2014 in northwest Louisiana. It is considered a federal election year, so voting will take place on a Tuesday rather than a Saturday.

2014 Election

*U.S. Senate and U.S. House races. Senate terms are six years; House terms are two years.

*Public Service Commission, District 5. The term for commissioners is six years.

*Louisiana Supreme Court, District 2. The term for a state Supreme Court justice is 10 years.

*All judicial seats – Court of Appeal, District, City, and Juvenile courts. Court of Appeal judges serve 10-year terms. District, City, and Juvenile Court judges serve six-year terms.

*District Attorneys in all parishes in the state. They serve six-year terms.

*Mayor and City Council in Shreveport as well as in some other municipalities, but not Bossier City. The term of office for these positions is four years.

*City Marshal in most cities, including Shreveport and Bossier City. The term of office is six years.

*School Boards in all parishes. They serve four-year terms.

Of course, there will also be state Constitutional amendments on the ballot as well.

2015 Election

Election year 2015 will be another banner election years. Here’s what will be on the ballot:

*All statewide offices – Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Agriculture Commissioner. The term of office for all is four years.

*State Senators and State Representatives in all districts in the state. They serve four-year terms.

*Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), District 4. It is a four-year term.

*Sheriffs in all parishes in the state. They serve four-year terms.

*Assessors in all parishes in the state. They serve four-year terms.

*Coroners in all parishes in the state. They serve four-year terms.

*Clerks of Court in all parishes in the state. They serve four-year terms.

*Caddo Commission and all Police Juries in the state. They serve four-year terms.

So there you have it. Hopefully, this information will help you keep the elections in the proper order.


Are you an ‘Independent’?

How many times have you heard someone say that he or she is an “Independent,” meaning they are not a registered Democrat or Republican?

Well, currently, there is no such designation in the state of Louisiana. Only five parties are recognized – Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, and Reform.

If you are not affiliated with one of those parties, you are “No Party” or “Other Party.”

But a bill in the current session of the Legislature would change that. State Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard of Thibodaux, who considers himself an Independent, introduced HB 193, which has been reported out of committee and is headed for a vote before the full House, likely this week.

The legislation would reinstate the designation of “Independent” on voter registration forms and allow candidates to be listed as such on the ballot.

The latest voter registration statistics in Louisiana show that 725,743 are listed under “Other Party.” It is surmised that a good portion of them would choose “Independent” if allowed to do.


Energy chair’s agenda

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, the state’s senior senator, is now in full command of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, a key post for the Pelican state’s oil and gas industry.

She outlined her short-term committee goals to reporters last week, noting that she expects her next hearing to focus on “the reliability and the security of the electric grid.”

Landrieu said the hearing will touch on a recent Wall Street Journal story detailing an unreleased Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission (FERC) report that said attackers could cause a “coast-to-coast blackout” for weeks or months by disabling just nine strategically located substations across the country.

Several lawmakers criticized the Journal for writing about the report. “It’s both the security – what should be public and what shouldn’t – and the reliability of the grid,” Landrieu said.

She then expects to turn her focus to increasing production in the Gulf of Mexico. “We’re going to do a deep dive on researching, streamlining, permitting, getting drilling rig counts up, fast-tracking some of these permits, etc.,” Landrieu stated.

The chairwoman also said she hopes to move forward with legislation to funnel a greater portion of revenues from oil and gas production to energy-producing states.


Oh no, not again!

How is your overall well-being living in the Shreveport-Bossier City area? Not good, according to the Gallup-Healthways Community Well-Being rankings.

Shreveport-Bossier City ranks in the bottom 10 for well-being, coming in at No. 182 out of 189 metro areas ranked in the study. It’s well-being index was 62.9 out of 100.

Gallup and Healthways ranked 189 metro areas, giving each a score that is an “average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basis necessities.”

Other Louisiana metro areas didn’t fare so well, either. Lafayette had a well-being index ranking of 64.6, New Orleans-Metairie 65.7, and Baton Rouge 66.9.

It follows, therefore, that the state came in as the 10th worst state in the rankings. North Dakota got the No. 1 ranking for best well-being, and West Virginia got the worst.


Lou Gehrig Burnett is a seasoned veteran of national and local politics. He publishes Fax-Net Update, a weekly political newsletter.

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.