Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne Remarks
November 5, 2015
I am a Republican. I have been one since the early 1970s when I helped Henson Moore’s election to the United States Congress. I will remain a Republican.
But I also am someone who believes in voting for the person, not the party. It’s why I and other long-time Republican officeholders were able to be elected when this was a Democrat state.
Never is this more appropriate than in this election, which is why Cathy and I today announce our support of John Bel Edwards.
We did not come to this decision lightly. We both have fielded dozens of calls and messages about our position in this race. We believe our many friends and supporters can make up their own minds, but they deserve to know how we will cast our ballots.
To those who are saying, “I’m just not gonna vote.” I encourage people not to take that easy way out. Don’t leave it to someone else to make your decision for you.
This is not a case of choosing the lesser of two evils.
John Bel reminded us during the primary that he lives by the oath he took as an Army Ranger . . not to lie, cheat or steal or tolerate those who do.
I never took that oath, but I have spent twenty-seven years in public service attempting to prove what I said in my very first election: that the term honest politician doesn’t have to be a contradiction in terms.
So how can I pretend that everything I said less than two weeks ago about David Vitter no longer has meaning? When are we Louisianians going to stop tolerating the embarrassment that too many of our elected officials have heaped upon our state?
I have stood on the stage not far from here in the LSU Union countless times over the years speaking to Boys State, Girls State, YLS and other groups talking about leadership … and the fundamental trait that a leader must possess: integrity.
Honor, integrity, truthfulness, openness and ethical behavior are the most important traits of public service.
John Bel Edwards is the candidate who exemplifies these traits.
I know better than anybody that just because David Vitter and his Super PAC say something on TV doesn’t make it true.
I have come to know and respect John Bel during this campaign.
I have done my due diligence. I have talked with him extensively regarding the issues that are important to me and the state.
I believe him when he tells me he will not be controlled by those who want to turn back the clock in Louisiana. He will not seek to undo strides that have been made in education with charter schools and vouchers. He will not be the enemy of business. He will not seek to solve our serious budget problems by penalizing a particular industry. He recognizes that LSU and all of higher education is the key to continued economic prosperity. He recognizes that he formerly represented an overwhelmingly Democrat district but that he must deal with a Republican control legislature. He knows that fear, intimidation and vindictiveness are the enemies of building a coalition to move Louisiana forward.
He will govern in a bipartisan way based on what’s best for Louisiana without regard to how it plays to a national audience.
The Republican brand has been damaged by the failed leadership of Bobby Jindal in his second term. A David Vitter governorship will further damage our brand as I and others have pointed out during the campaign.
I cannot and will not sit idly by and refuse to speak truth to power. I will support an honorable pro-life, pro-gun Democrat who can build coalitions and whose values best reflect those of our great state.