Louisiana business and industry groups went all-in supporting Eddie Rispone for governor, hoping a more conservative, business-friendly state leader would push through the legal and tax reforms they’ve long sought.
Those bets didn’t pan out, with Rispone being defeated. Still, officials with those groups are expressing optimism that they’ll be able to work with Gov. John Bel Edwards during his second term in office.
“How that relationship will play out, time will tell,” says Tyler Gray, president and general counsel of the Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association. “But we continue to have a relationship with him and how we work on issues, even when we don’t see eye to eye on everything.”
Working in their favor is that the state legislative makeup is more conservative and, based on campaign rhetoric, more pro-business than ever.
This legislative shift has prompted optimism from the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry and organizations tied to the oil and gas industry.
New legislators will change things “a great deal, at least I’m hopeful,” says Greg Bowser, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association. “One of the key changes we’ll see is a lot of the seniority in the Senate is going to be gone. I’m hoping that’s a positive.”
The Louisiana Oil and Gas Association saw 89% of its endorsed candidates win legislative races this fall, with LABI backing the winner in 39 contested legislative districts, plus another 22 candidates elected unopposed.
Determining the pecking order of the pro-business agenda remains a question, but LOGA President Gifford Briggs says “the issues weighing heaviest on members are the legal climate and coastal lawsuits.”