If you’re ever bumping around the Capitol, and you hear someone refer to “the locals,” they aren’t discussing Baton Rouge’s lovable flamingo fanatics or the city’s other residents.
No, those politicos are more than likely referring to the local stocks of elected talent that can be found in each of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, writes Jeremy Alford in his latest column about the rising influence of local politics on state government.
“The locals” are our district attorneys, sheriffs, assessors, clerks, mayors, parish presidents and others who chase neighborhood-sized blocks of votes to make their ways along the backwater canals and piney paths of Louisiana politics.
Nothing gets a legislator out of his or her seat like a floor note from their sheriff, and nothing makes them move faster for the rails of the House and Senate than the same notes co-signed by similar “courthouse gang” personalities. That’s because these local officials have a direct line to home, and they’re tremendously influential in practically every precinct they can touch.
This year for example, the Louisiana Municipal Association, Police Jury Association, School Boards Association, District Attorneys’ Association and Louisiana Sheriff’s Association are preparing to oppose bills that would move sales tax collecting authorities from parishes and municipalities and divert them to state government.