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Gatti: Answering claims made by Gerald Holland

State Sen. Ryan Gatti

Gerald Holland’s letter crosses many lines, but he has been a long-time rock-thrower for the Mills campaign. His unsubstantiated lies are nothing new. Mills and his multiple special interests PACS have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars misleading my constituents about my record. Helping bring stability to LSU Medical School, negotiating retention of 750 jobs with Fibrebond, drafting legislation to shut down the Bossier Abortion Clinic, passing Katie Bug’s Law and Solan’s Law are just a few of our accomplishments he wants to distract you from.  

Holland says I moved from Shreveport into my district—that is simply not true. Except for my time at LSU Baton Rouge, Bossier Parish has been my only place of residence. Incidentally, I have also had a church home in Bossier Parish my entire life. I currently attend the church where I was baptized, Cypress Baptist, where I teach 12th grade boys Bible School.  

Here’s what Holland doesn’t want you to know: Mills was asked to move into District 36 by lobbyists from Baton Rouge. Mills announced for office in May of 2018 and then moved from Southern Trace in Shreveport to Bossier in June of 2018. He registered to vote in Bossier Parish 18 days before the one-year deadline to run in the 2019 elections.  Mills was not a resident before he announced and, to this day, his house in Shreveport has not been sold.  

To the lobbyists, none of the 120,000 folks living in District 36 were loyal enough to take the senate seat. So, they went looking outside the District lines. Out of the 4.1 million folks living in the state and out of district, why did the special interests pick Mr. Mills to run and move?  Why did he say yes?

If Mills will move his family for the lobbyists, is there anything he won’t do for them once he gets to Baton Rouge? Holland can’t answer that question. Instead, he slings mud, so you don’t get to think about your answer.  Take a minute and write down your answer to that question: If Mills will move his family for the lobbyists, is there anything he won’t do for them once he gets to Baton Rouge?

Holland fails to admit that Mills, at the request of special interest groups, moved his wife and stepchildren to Bossier for his political aspirations. It takes a lot of negative ads to cover the smell of that, and Holland’s multiple letters are a big part of that plan.    

Holland continues his tall tales by saying I am supported by bad groups.  Mr. Holland knows I have been friends with the Governor since the first day of law school. Mr. Holland knows I rarely vote for the Governor’s agenda, because he and I don’t agree on many issues.  But when we do agree, like with Foster Care Reform, we work together. Holland also fails to say that civility and Christian friendship do not require public arguing. Mr. Holland views my civility and statesmanship as a weakness and, after reading his letters, anyone can see we are not cut from the same cloth.  Holland should dig up my middle school yearbook; he would discover I’ve had a record for friendliness my entire life.  Even at an early age, I was voted friendliest by my middle school peers.  

Holland tells another self-serving lie.  He states I own my law office building and the state pays me rent for my senate office. This, too, is a slanderous lie. I rented my office building from a local company, and I do not own it. The office is located at the corner of Shed Road and Benton Road in Bossier Parish and is easily accessible to my entire district. Rental rates are extremely high in my district and, in order to save the state money, Senators are allowed to have office space in or near their law office. Mike Johnson and Alan Seabaugh also held their representative offices in the same office complex as their law offices.  

If Mr. Holland had done his homework, he would have known my senate office is the least expensive district office in the State Senate. By having my office within a working office building, we save the State thousands of dollars a year. Additionally, we are the only legislative office in the area that is manned from 8:00-5:00 every weekday. We maintain all of our office expenses at around $1,000.00 per month. The average legislative office spends much more on operation costs.  

I’m clearly not in this for the money. This is evidenced by the fact I have donated my salary to local charities over my term.

Mr. Holland also complains that folks have to commute to my office. My senate office is five minutes from 220 and I-20, and we have received no complaints in four years on access. I have one of the largest senate districts in the state. So, we travel the districts on a regular basis to meet with constituents.  We held over 70 town hall meetings in four parishes over four years—many in Mr. Holland’s area.  He has never attended. He also failed to mention our satellite office in Minden, paid for by our campaign account, to better serve our constituents and save the state money.  

Holland claims I built a church in my back yard. This is the only partially true statement in his editorial.  In 2017, I built a barn in my back yard to work on cars with my elderly father. I grew up working at his wrecking yard and wanted to restore a few cars with him.  He does the work; I hold the light, just like old times.  My friend asked me if he could use the building for a men’s Bible study. I said yes. For over two years, on the first Tuesday of every month, my childhood friend has hosted hundreds of men from all walks of life and all faiths. I have never worked on a car in the building.  My friend asked me if he could name the barn “The Stable” because there is always room at the Stable, and Christ is the stabilizing force in a man’s life.  There’s even room for Mr. Holland.

In anticipation of his next letter, here are the facts: I voted to reduce insurance rates and drafted bills to reduce insurance rates; I am for term limits; I voted against HB 10 in 2018 a 3.5 billion dollar 7 years sales tax; I did not give money to Hillary; I am a former Vice President of the Republican Party of Bossier; John Bel Edwards has been my friend for over 20 years; I am the only candidate endorsed by the NRA; I drafted 62 bills and 21 became law.  

Lastly, Mr. Mills and Mr. Holland say I “fear losing” this race.  On July 31, 2017, I lost my daughter after a 10-year battle with a brain injury caused during her birth. I can guarantee Mr. Holland that losing a race does not cause fear in my heart. I was in Haiti on a mission trip when I won this race in 2015. I am not a senator that goes to church; I am a Christian who happens to be a Senator. After reading Mr. Holland’s multiple letters to the editor about me, having reached out to him for meetings and been denied, and having learned he has no boundaries to slander my name publicly to get his special interests guy elected, I can promise him I will not lower my standards to get his approval. His candidate might be willing to move to win, but I won’t move from my standards to win a race.  

Ryan Gatti, Louisiana Senator Dist. 36

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