Politics in any form can be messy, but when you’re running for a Congressional seat from Louisiana’s 6th District I imagine it would be muddled with unfounded accusations, misinformation and downright dirty. So, why would a member of the LGBT community want to put themselves through that? I wanted to know what would make Justin Dewitt put himself in the potential line of fire.
First, you have to understand that he is very passionate about the state of politics both on the state and federal level. He knows that it’s not going to be easy to beat an opponent with a large “war chest” and the backing of special interests, however, Dewitt is determined to make a statement and has the drive and determination to move forward with his platform. “I know that this is an uphill battle, but I want to represent the people of the 6th District”, he stated,” and “I believe that I can make a difference.”
So, what is Justin Dewitt about, what are his views on key issues that affect the people he wants to represent? We’re going to look at three key issues that not only affect those in the 6th District but our entire state; flood insurance (disaster), Traffic infrastructure, and supporting working families.
If you live or have lived in Louisiana for any period of time then you’re aware that we pay some of the highest rates with regards to flood insurance. Since Katrina, many Louisiana residences have seen their insurance rates go right through the roof. “I want to see a commonsense approach to rebuilding our levees, protecting the wetlands, and helping our citizens obtain affordable flood insurance.” Being a crew foreman for a land surveying company Justin has seen firsthand the neglect of the drainage infrastructure, which must be addressed. For every year that passes our crumbling infrastructure cost go up and up. Currently, Congress is unable or unwilling to address major infrastructure issues since they gave big corporations a permanent tax cut, leaving needed repairs on our roads, bridges, airports, etc. going left unattended.
When it comes to traffic everyone knows ours is one of the worst in the nation. I have to say that driving in Baton Rouge is a nightmare, and during rush-hour traffic it’s abominable. He understands that traffic is not a single issue, but a variety of issues. For example, the U.S. Department of Transportation has rated Louisiana bridges and roads as 3,790 of the 13,050 (29%) as structurally deficient/ functionally obsolete and 62% of roads are in poor/ mediocre conditions. “Just drive on our roads in and around Baton Rouge and you’ll see how bad they are. I don’t think that currently our representatives (Rep. Garret Graves) in Congress are doing enough to bring needed money to replace, or repair our road,” Dewitt stated. He also thinks more resources are need to be put in place to look into alternative forms of transportation and reducing congested traffic.
Want to earn $7.25 per hour, then move to Louisiana. While most cities have imposed higher minimum wages for some, working in Louisiana is not going to help you get ahead. This past March the state House Labor Committee shot down legislation to raise the minimum wage, instead letting it remain at the current $7.25, the committee also rejected a proposal that would require state contractors to pay women equal wages. Dewitt wants to see women paid the same as men and he believes this can be done on the federal level by re-visiting the Equal Pay Act of 1963. “There is no reason why women shouldn’t be paid the same as their male counterparts.” He further stated, “We live in a state where most people can’t get by on $10 or $12 dollars an hour, minimum wages needs to be raised.”
One thing I gather from talking with Justin opposition to corporate and/or super PAC money. He has decided to not take any money from corporate PAC’s, he believed that by doing so you sell your seat in Congress and are beholden to their interest. “We are a government represented by the people, and for the people, if I take money from corporations I just become their mouthpiece and the people pay with poor, ineffective representation.
Justin Dewitt isn’t just working hard to represent the 6th District, he is also a member of the LGBT community. He has strong connections with the community and wants to see the end of discrimination across the board. “Being gay doesn’t define me as an individual, it’s a part of who I am,” he stated. He appears not to understand why there is such division in the LGBT community, “how can we expect mainstream society to accept us if we’re constantly putting others down, and for what,” he stated. That aside he admits that there are many in the community that work hard to bridge the divide and put themselves out there for the benefit of the LGBT.
I asked him about the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in Louisiana. He did hesitate to question the pharmaceutical industries monopoly on HIV/AIDS drugs and the high cost of medications. He stated: “there has to be a balance between profits and availability of access of HIV/AID drugs,” furthermore “the reduction of federal funds for education has left Louisiana fighting a pandemic of major proportions.” He understands that Baton Rouge ranks 1st in the state for AIDS rate, that Louisiana ranks 5th in the nation and 12th in the number of AIDS cases diagnosed and 75% of all HIV/AIDS Cases in Region 2 (Baton Rouge area) are African Americans. “We have to look at this as an issue the entire state needs to address, and education and prevention is key to this,” Dewitt stated.
SO, LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Justin Dewitt has the drive, tenacity, and passion to represent the people of the 6th Congressional District. By being himself, staying true to what he believes and his values. He was honest that he cannot make promises, and wouldn’t make any that he couldn’t keep. But only do his best to represent the voters. He isn’t about political divides, doesn’t care about party affiliation, but just wants everyone’s vote to count and know that they have a voice.
“I want everyone to know that their concerns are important to me, that I come to them to listen and hear what’s bothering them,” Justin Dewitt.
for more information on his CAMPAIGN
Squirrel News is not endorsing, supporting or expressing any political views with regards to the Congressional race in the 2nd District of Louisiana.