LABI WESTPAC Endorses Legislative and BESE Candidates

Baton Rouge, La. – WESTPAC, a political action committee of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry (LABI) today announced their first round of endorsements for the 2015 fall elections.

“Our PAC members are committed to ensuring elected leaders continue to prioritize growth and prosperity, said WESTPAC Chairman Charles Trent. “Today we are proud to announce our support for these eight house and five senate members. I encourage the business community to ban together and support these and other pro-growth candidates in the fall elections. “

WESTPAC covers the Lafayette, Lake Charles and Alexandria regions of the state. The corresponding regional committees met this month and made recommendations to the WESTPAC board for the fall elections.

Factors taken into consideration during the deliberation process include the lawmakers rating on LABI’s 2012-2015 cumulative scorecard as well as elements such as a legislator’s commitment to work with the business community, their communication style, work ethic, actions taken in committee and willingness to listen to concerns expressed by employers in their districts.

All of these factors contributed to the area committee’s endorsement of the following incumbent legislators:

  • Rep. Taylor F. Barras (R-New Iberia, District 48)
  • Rep. Stuart J. Bishop (R-Lafayette, District 43)
  • Sen. Patrick “Page” Cortez (R-Lafayette, District 23)
  • Rep. Michael E. Danahay (D-Sulphur, District 33)
  • Rep. John E. Guinn (R-Jennings, District 37)
  • Rep. Bob Hensgens (R-Abbeville, District 47)
  • Rep. Mike Huval (R-Breaux Bridge, District 46)
  • Sen. Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles, District 27)
  • Rep. Nancy Landry (R-Lafayette, District 31)
  • Sen. Gerald Long (R-Winnfield, District 31)
  • Rep. Blake Miguez (R- New Iberia, District 49)
  • Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish (R-Jennings, District 25)
  • Sen. John R. Smith (R- Leesville, District 30)  

“We encourage the broader business community to support these legislators in their bids for re-election and to stay tuned for additional recommendations, “said WESTPAC executive director Brian Landry. “This is a critical and dynamic election cycle. As the political landscape continues to develop in the weeks and months ahead, we will be issuing additional endorsements.”

In addition to these legislative elections, WESTPAC is excited to announce a BESE endorsement and the endorsement of two legislative candidates who will challenge two incumbents this fall.

WESTPAC has endorsed Biscuit Smith (R-Longville) to challenge Representative Dorothy Sue Hill (House District 32) in the fall elections. Smith was recruited by WESTPAC to challenge Hill. The members believe Smith’s background as a small business owner and manufacturer will be an asset to the legislature. “I’m hoping to bring my experiences of running a business, managing a budget and serving my community as police juror to the state capitol. I know the state faces some serious challenges, but I believe my background has prepared me for those challenges,” said Smith.

WESTPAC has endorsed Julie Emerson (R-Carencro) to challenge Representative Stephen Ortego (House District 39) in the northern Lafayette area. Emerson owns her own communications company and is a resident of Carencro. WESTPAC members believe Emerson’s business background and communication skills will be critical for the district and in Baton Rouge. “I am honored to have WESTPAC’s endorsement and the support of the business owners and community standard bearers that they represent,” said Julie Emerson. “I look forward to working with them to make sure that Louisiana is a great place for employers to create jobs for our citizens.”

BESE member Holly Boffy of District 7 has been endorsed by WESTPAC as well as LABI’s three other affiliated PACs – SOUTHPAC, EASTPAC and NORTHPAC. Boffy has been a champion for educational progress since elected to BESE in 2011. Holly is the 2010 Louisiana State Teacher of the Year, a 2011 Women Who Mean Business Honoree, and is a National Board Certified Teacher. 

WESTPAC is a non-partisan political action committee working to recruit and support candidates who support the free enterprise market with as little government interference as possible.