Letter: Change begins with a vote

Every 38 minutes, a football field-sized portion of Louisiana converts to open water.

It seems logical to ask those responsible to do their fair share to correct the damage. But this is Louisiana! Our governor and state Legislature worked hard this past session to let Big oil off the hook from its obligation to repair the damage its extraction of natural resources from our state has contributed to.

Why, one may ask. Possible answers are rather simple. We are led by a man with no generational connect to Louisiana. Accordingly, coastal erosion seems far from a priority to him, as with some legislators. Whether they are native to Louisiana or a transplant, what matters is their commitment to the welfare of our state. Remember, they work for us.

A second reason may be simply ignorance. Many legislators may not understand the complexities of the issue, such as subsidence related to natural resource extraction or saltwater intrusion’s relation to the diminished volume of freshwater flow. We must vote for enlightened individuals rather than simply a neighbor or a friend. The cost of indifference is clearly too great.

Still another reason lies with us. We elected a man as our governor without asking what he intended to do. And now, much like the story of the Pied Piper, rather than get rid of the rats, he appears to be leading us to the cliff of disaster, with the Legislature trailing merrily behind. We must learn to ask the agenda of every candidate for office and vote for those committed to our state rather than their own interests.

A final part of the answer may involve the question whose Louisiana is it? Does our state belong to the citizens or to special interests? Anyone who has visited the legislature and witnessed the packs of lobbyists who wine, dine and pressure the legislators knows who runs this state. We can change that — there are far more voters in the state than lobbyists. We must exercise our power at the polls to demand change. The names of every legislator who voted against the interests of Louisiana are readily available on the Internet and in the legislative record; take a moment and learn how your representative voted.

In the time it took you to read today’s paper, consider how much of south Louisiana simply vanished. And, each time you pull up to the gas pump, consider who is responsible. But, do not get mad — get motivated! There is hope in the power of our votes. We will see their allies in the Legislature at the polls on election day. God bless our great state!

Sam Hyde

author

Denham Springs