There's just one week left until qualifying, and so far we’ve covered the Governor’s race and the candidates for Attorney General. But little has been said about the four candidates vying for Lieutenant Governor - the person who will be in charge when the Governor is out of state and the head of Louisiana tourism.
“We have to go out and promote each area of the state, not just one area," says Baton Rouge Mayor, Kip Holden, the lone Democrat in the race. While New Orleans is the gateway for tourism in Louisiana, he says, “we can’t forget those small towns and villages, and make sure that we lift all boats at the same time. Because everyone needs those dollars because of tremendous cuts they’ve sustained.”
Back in February, the Office of Tourism’s budget was cut by $3.5 million. Three state historic sites closed as a result and many museums reduced the number of hours they were open.
Former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, a Republican, says that as Lieutenant Governor, getting those facilities in proper order would be first priority. “We need to restore all of the cuts and put our best foot forward," he says.
Jefferson Parish President, John Young, also a Republican, wants to see the entire state benefit, making sure that "everyone gets their fair share of that tourism dollar.”
Republican State Senator Elbert Guillory is also running, and points to the role tourism plays in Louisiana’s economy. “It’s the second largest industry in Louisiana. It brings a lot of money into Louisiana and we have to protect it," he says.
According to a recent Verne Kennedy poll, forty-one percent of voters haven’t decided who they like for Lieutenant Governor. Of those who have picked a favorite, twenty-three percent like Kip Holden.