I was 30 years old in 1986 when I first heard Congressman Buddy Roemer speak at a small breakfast downtown, Business Report Publisher Rolfe McCollister writes in a new opinion piece about the late governor.
Buddy inspired McCollister to believe we could “slay the dragon” and build a better Louisiana. He set the standard for an honest political campaign, believing “big ideas can beat big money.”
Buddy wasn’t a political candidate—he was a principled candidate. He changed our politics. He changed Louisiana.
He raised the bar on ethics in politics and campaign finance before it was the law. He led by example, proving Louisiana could be better. Buddy embodied the revolution, McCollister writes.
Roemer was a public servant, not a politician. He told voters what he would do if elected and then actually did his best to accomplish that goal as governor. That’s called leadership. Buddy Roemer was a leader.
Buddy was one of the smartest people I’ve known, McCollister writes. And there can be no doubt the best orator on the stump. No one could capture the hearts, minds and attention of a room better than Buddy. He had a gift and he used it for good to help others.
McCollister writes that he loved his passion for life and his courage to take a stand and speak truth to power. He was unconventional, often going against the grain, and he was admirable for it.
Buddy was a Harvard MBA and used his skills in business after politics when he founded two banks in Baton Rouge, including b1BANK, which is now the second largest community bank in Louisiana. He saw banking as another way to help people.
Read McCollister’s full column about Roemer’s legacy and lasting impact on the state.