Wise advice from a political pro

Published 5:57 am Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Ron Faucheux is hoping there will be 64 gubernatorial debates in Louisiana’s 64 parishes this year. While that isn’t likely, it’s not a bad idea, along with four other great wishes Faucheux has for his state.

Faucheux is a nationally respected pollster, author and nonpartisan political analyst based in Louisiana whose best wishes column appeared in The Advocate last Dec. 26. He also publishes Lunchtime-Politics.com, a nationwide newsletter on polls and public opinion.

What Faucheux had to say we should expect from a new governor was sound and logical, and I felt it was important enough to share with our readers.

I was covering the Legislature when Faucheux served from 1976 to 1984 as a Louisiana state representative from New Orleans East. He later served as editor and publisher of Campaigns & Elections magazine.

Faucheux’s most important wish was his hope that Louisiana would elect a new governor with vision. He said dealing with daily transactions of government isn’t enough.

“Candidates need to show how they will move us from 50th to 1st,” he said. “Where is Louisiana going in the next 20 years? What opportunities will there be for our children and grandchildren.”

Topics at those debates, or forums, he said, should be the state’s economic future and the role played by education, job training, health care, public safety, infrastructure, poverty, insurance rates and fiscal and structural reforms.

“Candidates and local media need to show up and take the forums seriously,” he said. Unfortunately, too many of today’s candidates have been skipping debates and forums.

State and local governments have extra revenues and surpluses, and Faucheux said every penny should be used to build a resilient and diverse economy — and not be wasted on rip-offs and pay-offs.

Then, there are the voters. Faucheux said they should cast smart votes in state elections. “Just blaming politicians won’t cut it,” he said. “Citizens must do their part: Be informed. Look beyond labels. Elect good candidates.”

Faucheux wrapped things up, saying, “These are my wishes. What are yours?”

Mine coincide perfectly with those of Faucheux — concentration on education, job training, health care, public safety, infrastructure, poverty, insurance rates and fiscal and structural reforms.

Unfortunately, in today’s political climate many candidates prefer to concentrate on social issues. While important, they shouldn’t substitute for what should be the real nuts and bolts of this campaign that were so well stated by Faucheux.

Faucheux also had some excellent wishes for the nation. He said he hoped President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump would decide not to run again because the nation needs a new generation of leadership.

He would like to see a balanced budget, the end of “homicidal partisanship,” a Ukrainian victory against Russia, and he hopes Congress fixes the entire immigration system.

WOW! If only it could happen.

FOR THE RECORD: Mistakes in my profession can really damage your reputation, and I made a big one in the column I did a week ago on Joe Dumars, the former great NBA star for the Detroit Pistons. Only sports enthusiasts would have caught it, and they did.

The Detroit Pistons won their first NBA championship in 1989 and repeated as champions in 1990. As two  readers reminded me last week, I was off a decade in that Dumars column.

Dumars, a Piston great, was back in Lake Charles when McNeese State University named its basketball court after the player who helped put the McNeese Cowboys on the national basketball stage.

I had written a column about Dumars on June 17, 1990, and I was off a decade on that one, too. As is always the case, you can count on readers to catch your mistakes and let you know it.

The two readers were kind about the mistake, and I appreciated that. However, it doesn’t ease the pain of realizing you messed up big time.

If my wife, Jo Ann, were still around, I know what she would be saying because she said it now and then over the years: “Ha, Ha, you made a mistake.”

As you might suspect, I used to brag about not making many.

Jim Beam can be reached at American Press 337-433-3000.