ICYMI: Rispone Offers Few Details About His Plans For Louisiana
After refusing to appear on the campaign trail, Louisiana gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone is catching flak for refusing to provide few details about what he’d do if elected.
Rispone has skipped public events where he would have to explain his agenda. He was even caught lying about why he skipped a Baton Rouge Area Chamber Forum.
Maybe it’s because Rispone is petrified to talk about how his policies would bring Louisiana back to the Jindal era of drastic higher education cuts and cuts to health care. He even supports a plan that could take health care away from 300,000 working Louisianans.
It was revealed that friends and foes of Rispone do agree on one thing: if Rispone wins his megadonor friend, Lane Grigsby, would “try to impose his will on a man who has never held political office.” Grigsby has been very public about his agenda—he wants to end state funding for local law enforcement and close “certain” colleges and universities.
It’s time for Rispone to come clean about his plans for Louisiana.
Read more about Rispone’s vague campaign:
Associated Press: Analysis: As he runs for governor, Eddie Rispone gives few details
Republican businessman Eddie Rispone is asking Louisiana voters to choose him in the November runoff election without telling them much about what he wants to do if he wins the job.
Ask what he wants to accomplish, and Rispone gets vague.
He’s criticized Edwards for championing a bipartisan criminal sentencing law rewrite in 2017. But Rispone hasn’t said what he would change, just that he’d “look at it again” with district attorneys and sheriffs, many of whom were involved in crafting what passed.
Rispone says taxes are too high and road conditions too poor. He’s said he wants to slash tax hikes enacted during Edwards’ tenure, while covering the growing cost of the TOPS college tuition program and increasing spending on early childhood education. He opposes raising Louisiana’s gas tax, but says he’ll boost road and bridge work.
Rispone doesn’t explain how the math works, to both cut taxes and increase spending. Instead, he says he’ll hire capable Cabinet leaders, eliminate waste and prioritize spending.
“We’re going to go out and recruit good, talented people over these agencies. We’re going to run these agencies like they should be run, like we do in business,” Rispone said at one forum. “We’re going to respect our citizens’ tax dollars, and we’re going to be efficient and effective.”
That doesn’t really tell much to people who depend on the state for services. And that might just be the point. Stake out a specific position and a candidate could alienate pockets of voters in a head-to-head Nov. 16 runoff where no one appears to be the favorite.
Edwards hasn’t described a sweeping agenda for the next four years either, but voters know the Democratic incumbent’s priorities from how he’s governed, so they have an idea of what they’d see in a second Edwards term.
Running against an incumbent who still has solid approval ratings, Rispone’s strategy involves nationalizing the race, talking about Trump and reminding Louisiana voters that Edwards is a Democrat in a state that tends not to elect them statewide anymore.
When pressed on a subject, however, Rispone sometimes responds in a way that suggests he has more ideas than he’s sharing with the public.
He’s said the Board of Regents, the top higher education policymaking board, should have more authority over the university systems, and he’s talked of restructuring “how higher education is done.” He’s said the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education that oversees K-12 education should have more power over local school boards.
As he talks of holding a constitutional convention, Rispone targets areas involving the budget, taxes, state employee pensions, education and local government. Those don’t seem selected at random, indicating he likely has ideas for what he’d like to change.
Rispone only sporadically attended public forums leading into the Oct. 12 primary. Those appearances are even fewer ahead of the runoff.
He’s attended two public events since the primary and agreed to one debate against Edwards, on Wednesday. He’s skipping other forums where he’s been invited to square off directly with his opponent.
Rispone didn’t attend an economic development summit in Baton Rouge that arguably would have been home turf, an audience of business leaders.
Edwards appeared and rebuked Rispone’s absence: “Nobody has a clue what this man would do if he were governor. That’s reason enough to make sure he doesn’t get that opportunity.”
While Rispone is making his first run for office, he has one record that voters can review: years of political donations. He’s supported former U.S. Sen. David Vitter, former Gov. Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Jeff Landry. He’s financed organizations and candidates that support charter schools and the voucher program that sends children to private schools with taxpayer dollars. He’s given contributions to business PACs.
Rispone mainly seems to want voters to know he supports Trump, hoping those coattails can help him reach the governor’s mansion.