by KAREN LAGRANGE COX
The following questions were emailed to Louisiana State Representative 49 seat candidates for their responses. Sanders “Sandy” Derise, David Eaton, and Jacob Landry are the candidates. The election will be held on October 14, 2023.
- What are your reasons for running as a candidate for Louisiana Representative District 49?
Derise: I am running for District 49 to help Louisiana move forward in three major areas, Oil and Gas, Education, and Infrastructure.
First, our state’s Oil and Gas industry in Louisiana is a major economic and industrial force and it is suffering! Our current Governor has hurt Louisiana’s petroleum industry by pushing nonsense lawsuits forward which has major negative effects on our state economy. I will stand up for Louisiana Oil and Gas companies and fight against sanctions and unfair laws, and I will dedicate myself to restoring jobs and strength to our industry here in South Louisiana.
Second, I will work hard to support the right changes we need in our state’s education system. Support for BOTH our teachers and our students … Teachers are handcuffed and bogged down in a curriculum that simply does not work which is driving too many away from their careers. I plan to continue the fight for the positive changes needed and for higher wages for our hard working teachers. Parents of our students want to be more informed and to have more input into the curriculum that drives the quality of the education of their children.
Security in our schools is important. Assuring that our teachers and students are protected against anything that will jeopardize their security while working in their learning world is something that I am passionate about.
Third, our infrastructure is in shambles, and we need to put together a master plan to fix it and simply find a way to come up with the money. We have been promising the residents of Louisiana and District 49 and previous legislators have failed to deliver. We can do this by either Public – Private Partnerships that help us financially such as toll roads or some sort of revenue stream.
Eaton: The voters of District 49 have repeatedly spoken that they want to be represented by a conservative Republican who is committed to the family values and business needs of the district. I am running to continue those policies.
I will be a leader to protect individual liberties and limit government intrusion if the form of high taxes and burdensome regulations.
Landry: I’ve spent almost my entire life in District 49. I started my businesses here, I started my family here, I go to church here, District 49 is home to me. I’m deeply passionate about working towards revitalizing the District into an even more thriving environment. I’m looking forward to taking coalitions from across the District to Baton Rouge to create positive change and better communities in 49.
- What unique qualities and skills make you the ideal candidate for State Representative of District 49?
Derise: I am the only candidate that has held a political office as a councilman. I was a councilman in Jeanerette for 7 years before I moved to Youngsville. I know the struggles as a councilman and local officials as they try and move their agendas forward. They must have a strong State Representative and Senator that will go to bat for them and stand up at the state level and ultimately bring home solutions.
Eaton: I am husband, father, and successful small business owner who seeks God’s wisdom in my daily life.
As a member and past President of the Bayou Vermilion District I saw first-hand how a mismanaged agency was wasting public funds and failing to accomplish the main tasks mandated by law. With the direction of my leadership and cooperation of fellow commissioners, we were able to save public funds and redirect the mission to it statutory purpose for the betterment of waterway management and flood control.
I’m a team builder. I will build a team that will bring together the interest of Lafayette, Iberia, and Vermilion Parishes and develop a plan to grow jobs and protect family and property rights.
Landry: When I was in high school, I worked in oil & gas with my father throughout the state. I saw the value of hard work then, and still value it to this day. For years, this has allowed me to relate to both business owners in the community as well as employees. I’m a consensus builder and everyday I find solutions that benefit as many parties as possible. That same pragmatic approach is what we need in Baton Rouge.
- What do you see as the most urgent issue in District 49?
Derise: Home Insurance Rates are killing our economy.
Eaton: Removing the governmental roadblocks for job creators which includes providing a more skilled workforce.
Landry: The most urgent issue facing District 49 has to be jobs. Each year, Louisiana is one of the few states that has a net outward migration of its citizens. District 49 is no different, we need to incentivize businesses to bring job opportunities back into District 49. The best way to keep our talented people in the District is to keep high-paying jobs here. We can do that by removing burdensome regulations that hold back our businesses.
- What are your top priorities if elected?
Derise: My top priority is doing what I can to help job growth in Louisiana. It starts with supporting our oil and gas industry as well as renewable energy with a new governor, I am very hopeful to end the bogus lawsuits, so we can move forward in all energy aspects. South Louisiana has been the backbone of new technology in the oil field, and I believe that we have the brightest and smartest people in our area and can help and to thrive in all aspects of the energy world.
Eaton: In addition to the above, demanding that infrastructure such as I-49, flood control, and the Port of Iberia are top tier priorities in the budget.
Reform the budget process, such as requiring budget adoption early in the session and allowing adequate time for review and transparency.
Landry: My top priorities upon election are to protect oil and gas jobs by combatting legacy lawsuits, incentivize corporations to bring high paying jobs into the district, and to vastly improve our infrastructure. I want to keep Louisianans in Louisiana.
- Do you have plans to introduce any new legislation through the Louisiana State House of Representatives branch of the Louisana State Legislature?
Derise: I want to continue to work on Tart reform to help lower our insurance rates both home and auto. The second new bill I want to introduce is a personal issue with me. I was a Paramedic for Acadian ambulance for 7 years before I got into the oil and gas world. One thing I see driving around Louisiana is first responder’s EMS, Fire and Police, both Paid and volunteer driving at unacceptable speeds and levels that need to be corrected. I just want to introduce a bill that will mandate some type of training for them while driving an emergency vehicle that will keep us all safe on the roads. Both the responders and the entire public driving community.
Eaton: Yes, Closed Primary election system, reduction of severance tax no greater than that of Texas.
Landry: Yes, I want to work on legislation that introduces and fully funds more vocational programs in high schools across the district. Multiple schools across Louisiana are having great success with their vocational programs, and we need to encourage expansion of these programs to address our labor shortages. I plan to start that right here in District 49.
- To help small businesses, how would you simplify the bureaucratic red tape that small businesses have to go through?
Derise: I think communication is the key to fixing a lot of the red tape for small business. I feel that if the local governments communicate everything that the new business must comply with, we are much more likely to address the issues in a positive light. It’s the unknown issues that ends up hurting and the companies feeling like they are being pushed to the back of the line.
Eaton: Provide for a central tax collection (do a better job of explaining to the voters how that will improve job growth).
Landry: In order to help small businesses, I would work with my colleagues in the House to reform occupational licensing requirements. There are many jobs that have overly burdensome barriers to entry, such as hair braiders or florists. Any occupational licensing regulation that stifles a business owner beyond reason needs to be evaluated.
- Our elderly, those with developmental disabilities, and military veterans with disabilities are some of our most vulnerable citizens and are at greater risk for abuse and neglect. Do you have plans to ensure the safety, protection, and well-being of our citizens who are elderly, have developmental disabilities, or are military veterans with disabilities? If yes, what are your plans?
Derise: I will always support any issues with our elderly and military veterans with disabilities. They are the people who need our help and I will always support their needs 100%.
Eaton: Have town hall meetings specifically for these issues to help develop a strategy to solve the problems that exists today.
Landry: We have to do a better job when it comes to taking care of our vulnerable citizens. For starters, I think partnering with more non-profit organizations is a great step. Where government solutions fail, I believe we should make it easier for nonprofits to provide help to those that need it the most. Legislatively, we need to review our current system and work with these groups to find wins for everyone in Louisiana.
No person in Louisiana should be neglected because of a disability, especially our veterans.
- Considering the various issues currently impacting oil and gas companies in Louisiana, could you please share any plans or strategies you intend to implement to stimulate exploration and development in the state?
Derise: It starts with supporting our oil and gas industry as well as renewable energy. With a new governor I am very hopeful will end the bogus lawsuits, and we can move forward in all energy aspects. South Louisiana has been the backbone in new technology in the oil field. And I believe that we have the brightest and smartest people in our area and can help and thrive in all aspects of the energy world.
I will fight to end frivolous lawsuits against our oil and gas companies and stand up against regulations that have no baring or good intentions to our oil and gas world. We have made it so expensive to drill for our own oil we have priced ourselves out of the business. We must fight big government and make it easier for Oil and Gas companies to continue to get permits and continue drilling at a completive price with the world.
Eaton: First, repeal any statutes that allows for the “legacy lawsuits”.
Reduce the severance tax to no greater than that of Texas, which would reduce from approx. 12% to approx. 4%.
Landry: In order to stimulate exploration in Louisiana, we first need to achieve tort reform. Most companies dread doing business in Louisiana because it is a deeply litigious state. Once we address legacy lawsuits, we need to look into lifting regulations on exploration and streamline the process for any companies doing business in Louisiana and wanting to come in.