Letter to the Editor: Speaking out against LSMSA name change

letters to the editor295Much ink has been spilled over the last few months on the state of our democracy — how political discourse is dead, how the people are no longer represented, how the system is broken. Unfortunately for all of us, I’m here to spill just a bit more.

I’ve had the opportunity to watch our democracy in action over the last few weeks in the Louisiana Legislature. I’ve taken part in the process, lobbying my voice among hundreds of others in the fight over SB 1, a bill that would rename The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts — my alma mater.

At this point, I’m not going to litigate the merits of the bill — the alumni are united in opposition to it for good reasons. What’s important now is to illuminate to my fellow citizens how this process played out.

Democracy is supposed to be for the people. It’s our government, organized according to our wishes, and enacted by our representatives. They are there to serve us, to carry out our agenda. Let me be clear: that is far from what I experienced.

SB 1 passed swimmingly through two legislative committees against the express wishes of the people. The constituents it affects — namely, the students, parents, faculty, staff, and alumni of LSMSA — have made it clear we don’t want this bill. We have collectively spent hours testifying in committee, have sent thousands of emails, and called hundreds of times.

Through all of that action, how many votes did we sway? Just four — two senators on the floor and two representatives in committee.
Of the entire Legislature, are there really only four principled among you?

Watching this unfold has been stunning. It should be the easiest vote in the world. It’s left me disillusioned, frustrated, and disconcerted. Two senators used their position to push a bill upon the people — people who don’t want it. And everyone — all but four — ignored their constituents in order to gratify the ego of their colleagues.

I’m deeply perturbed by how this has process has played out. It’s a gross abuse of power by the authors and a callous, willful disregard of constituent wishes by everyone else.

The system broke for SB 1, but there’s one vote left. Will anyone join these four brave men and women — State Sens. Dan Claitor, Fred Mills Jr., state Reps. Beryl Amedee and Polly Thomas?

Logan Leger, Baton Rouge

3 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: Speaking out against LSMSA name change

  1. I have nothing against Jimmy Long, he was well liked by my family. I would not want to hurt the Long family by presenting my views, but I am against the name change for the school. Jimmy Long was a man for education, and was well known for that, however when people talk of Jimmy Long, they think of the Natchitoches area, not the entire state of Louisiana. I think the name of the school should stay as is because it represents the fact that students from the entire state attend the school. A name change where it is one thing for some occasions or legal issues, and the current name for all else would be too confusing and totally ridiculous in my opinion. Just leave it alone, and honor Mr. Jimmy Long another way.

  2. Maybe this has been explained before, but, WHY the opposition?
    Not trying to start anything here, and I understand that we as a state have ALOT more pressing issues, but what are the reasons? Help us understand, Please.

  3. What everyone has failed to notice is how our(Natchitoches) legislative delegation has stepped forward and led this fight for the people. Our senator has lobbied to get this passed and has succeeded with almost no opposition. Wouldn’t it be great if he used his power and influence to fix the problems in our state. He has gotten all spectrums of our political system to unite for this one cause too bad he doesn’t even try for bills that really matter. Who wins in this battle to change the name of our school? Absolutely no one not even Senator Long. Maybe the governor will see fit to veto once it reaches his desk. If not we have seen our democracy in action and all of these politicians should receive our vote of confidence in the next election. Remember this then and vote for “anybody but”.

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