Following a campaign for governor characterized by a focus on crime and an avoidance of debates, Republican Jeff Landry won over 50% of the vote, avoiding a runoff and winning the race outright. Landry has since announced that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will be hosting his transition team.
This comes as a break from previous governors, who have typically selected Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge as the site for their transition team. Landry addressed this in his first press conference as governor-elect, stating that he wants to make sure all of Louisiana has a voice.
“I’ve said from day one that this administration will ensure that every part of the state has a voice, not just those who occupy the capital,” Landry said. “This administration is going to represent the people of Louisiana, not just the political class. And so we are going to be running this transition out of Lafayette, which we believe gives everyone access to us, makes it easy for everyone around the state to reach us.”
Landry, a graduate from UL Lafayette, also added that the university isn’t located far from where he lives.
Looking towards his transition to the role of governor, Landry reiterated that he wants to focus on crime, education and the economy, and that he hopes to get started on crime as soon as possible by calling the legislature into session within his first month in office.
“Our goal would be to ensure that we have transparency and accountability in our criminal justice system. And we want to make the goal of our criminal justice system: how do we keep people from going to jail, not how do we let people out of jail,” Landry said. “And we also want to make sure that victims have rights, and that we ensure that we concentrate on the rights of the victims rather than the rights of the criminals.”
Landry wants to attract more police officers, as well as “work with local governments to pay our current officers what they’re worth.” He’s also stated that some people can be rehabilitated while others can’t, and that his administration will “do everything within our power to keep them in prison.”
Speaking on education, Landry has claimed that classrooms are filled with “woke politics,” and that he aims to fix that. Landry has said that parents “are the most important voice in a child’s education,” that state and local governments should work to ensure teachers are well-compensated and that children shouldn’t be stuck in a school that is not adequately educating them.
Landry plans to promote Louisiana’s economic growth by supporting the oil and gas, agriculture, fisheries and timber industries, work to attract new businesses, better serve the businesses already in Louisiana and create a tax code that is “more competitive with other states.”
Since 2016, Landry has served as Louisiana’s attorney general, and has garnered controversy for pushing and supporting conservative policies, including state laws that ban gender-affirming care for transgender youths and an abortion ban with no exceptions for cases of rape and incest.
Landry also supported a bill to restrict youth access to books in public libraries deemed “sexually explicit,” which opponents have claimed targets books with LGBTQ+ themes.
Landry’s report on the issue, titled “Protecting Innocence,” was criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union, who stated it would allow state and local officials to decide what is considered “sexually explicit,” and restrict or remove access to them.
“In any government censorship regime, there are winners and losers. And it is not lost on anyone that the vast majority of titles and authors criticized by the Attorney General today are by and about people of color, women and the LGBTQ+ community,” wrote Alanah Odoms, executive director of ACLU of Louisiana.
In 2012, Landry called for UL Lafayette to terminate its minor focusing on LGBTQ+ studies, prompting university president Joseph Savoie to defend the program, stating that “universities support student learning and produce new knowledge, educated leaders, informed citizens and expert professional skills and training.”
Landry will take office on Jan. 8, replacing Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who was term-limited.