2019 Louisiana Democratic Socialist Voting Guide

State Representative District 57

St. Charles and St. John aka Cancer Alley

4-year term, limited to 3 terms

Randal Gaines (D) is running unopposed after the late disqualification of Shondrell Perrilloux.

Gaines won his seat in 2011 and has been unopposed in every election since. He supports criminal justice reform, including expanding medical marijuana and decriminalizing possession of small amounts, banning the box, and easing parole requirements. He also voted against drug testing for welfare recipients. He voted against the six-week abortion ban, but usually does not vote on abortion bills either way and has a good rating from Louisiana Right to Life. He voted against forcing companies to give public notice before fracking, and has a poor environmental record overall.

State Representative District 74

Abita Springs, Unincorporated St. Tammany and Washington Parishes

4-year term, limited to 3 terms

In District 74, Larry Frieman (R), an insurance defense lawyer endorsed by a who’s who of Louisiana industry lobbying groups, faces off against Cindy Winch (D), a former oilfield worker who has made appearances on the picket line during the recent Communications Workers of America (CWA) strike against AT&T.

This cycle, Frieman garnered the endorsements of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI), the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association, the Louisiana Manufacturer’s Association PAC, and the Associated Builders’ and Contractors’ PAC. His campaign cash comes from a collection of insurance PACs, law firms, construction companies, and even a company that does drug testing of workers on behalf of employers. Frieman’s only stated platform appears to be “faith, family, and the Constitution,” but with that backing, you can be sure he’ll be a reliable vote for corporate interests over the working class.

Winch centers her campaign in championing working families, citing her own experiences with precarious employment in the oilfield and the experiences of others in the same situation. Her website lists her signature issues as raises for public school teachers, giving Louisiana workers a living wage, and reining in the ITEP program.

Winch also answered our candidate questionnaire, notably voicing her support for both raising the statewide minimum wage and allowing municipalities to raise it further. Winch supports making the oil & gas industry pay for the state’s coastal restoration plans. She also indicated her support for Medicare for All and her opposition to both draconian Medicaid work requirements and the recent abortion restrictions passed in Louisiana.

State Representative District 89


4-year term, limited to 3 terms

With incumbent Reid Falconer (R) now seeking the vacant seat in Senate District 11, no fewer than five different candidates, four Republicans and one Democrat, are running to represent this Northshore district in the Louisiana House.

The most well-resourced candidate is former attorney and U.S. State Department alum, Richard Nelson (R), who announces his support for infrastructure improvements in St. Tammany Parish and coastal restoration, while also claiming to want to cut everyone’s taxes. He also openly supports ghoulish Medicaid work requirements. Nelson is currently the executive vice president of a digital consulting firm, and most of his campaign contributions have come from himself.

Current Mandeville City Councilmember Daniel Ellis (R) is also running for the seat, but you wouldn’t know it from his limited online presence. Ellis says he will strongly support the Constitution and defend the Second Amendment if elected. Vincent Liuzza (R), a Mandeville realtor is running again on a platform to improve infrastructure in St. Tammany, while also cutting taxes. Liuzza is self-funding his campaign.

Rounding out the Republican candidates, former U.S. Marine and commercial pilot Pat Phillips qualified for the race by nominating petition—the only candidate to do so. This is Phillips’s third attempt at running for this seat, this time with the endorsement of the St. Tammany Parish Republican Executive Committee. On his website, Phillips lists his main issues as cutting taxes, reforming the state budget, and investing in healthcare, education, and infrastructure. Though he has received a number of small donations from individuals in St. Tammany, Phillips has also loaned his own campaign nearly $40,000.

The lone Democrat in the race, Erin Feys Powell is former school psychologist. She describes herself as a “centrist” and a “moderate.” While her Republican opponents mostly talk about highway widening paid for with tax cuts, Powell’s platform centers on supporting public education and her desire to address suicide prevention and the opiod crisis. She has also expressed concerns over the ITEP program, saying it “allows corporations to not pay their fair share of taxes.” Powell received labor endorsements, including from the St. Tammany Parish Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, and the AFL-CIO.

Powell also answered our candidate questionnaire. In fitting with her campaign themes, she indicated her support for local control over ITEP exemptions, Medicare for All, and broad reforms to the carceral system, as well as her opposition to state-imposed Medicaid work requirements.

State Representative District 105

West Bank of Orleans and Plaquemines Parishes

4-year term, limited to 3 terms

Incumbent Chris Leopold’s (R) biggest accomplishment this year was jumping on the bandwagon along with 73 cosponsors of Jerry Gisclair’s popular bill to require country of origin labels on seafood sold in Louisiana. He appeared to be running unopposed in District 105 until public outcry over the proposed public-private partnership that would create tolls on the Belle Chasse bridge inspired new candidates to jump in. Now he faces token opposition in the form of Mack Cormier (D) and Christopher Schulz (R).

Leopold is a real estate developer first elected to the Louisiana House in 2011. With his incumbent status, he’s accumulated the endorsements of the whole swath of Louisiana industry lobbying groups and PACs, including LABI, LOGA, and Entergy’s PAC, creatively named ENPAC. Despite presiding over one of the most environmentally vulnerable districts in the state, his record is abysmal: Leopold earned a 29/100 on our environmental scorecard.

Schulz, a CPA, lists the proposed tolls on the Belle Chasse bridge as his number one issue. On his candidate Facebook page Schulz attacks Leopold for supporting bridge projects without tolls developed in other parts of the state. Schulz also tags Leopold for being absent during the vote for the recent bill criminalizing abortion after 6 weeks. Schulz says this shows Leopold is insufficiently anti-abortion. Schulz assures potential constituents that he’d be far more supportive of draconian restrictions on reproductive health care.

Beyond a personal Facebook page where he calls the incumbent “Captain Tolls,” Democratic candidate Mack Cormier has no campaign presence or infrastructure. Cormier was once disqualified as a candidate for Justice of the Peace representing Pilottown because he was not one of the two residents of Pilottown.