Davante Lewis’ Victory in LPSC Race Will Force Much Needed Change

Photo credit: Danae Columbus
Photo credit: Danae Columbus

“I will be Entergy’s worst nightmare,” a jubilant Davante Lewis told dozens of supporters in his victory speech Saturday, December 10 at the Holy Grail Coffee House. With the help of national organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund, Lewis put together an extraordinary come-from-behind campaign to easily overwhelm 18-year incumbent Lambert Boissiere III for the District 3 seat on the Louisiana Public Service Commission. Lewis’ lopsided win will force the LPSC to address dozens of issues they have consistently swept under the rug including the profit margin of utility companies and the need to prioritize the use of alternatives to fossil fuels.

Boissiere never developed a clear and concise message about his accomplishments and was rightly branded as a foil for the industries regulated by the LPSC. Over the years, Boissiere was almost invisible to the constituents he was elected to serve. He never appeared at community meetings in the district or held town hall events where the public could share their concerns. Over his 18 years in office, Boissiere may have received close to a $1 million in campaign donations from LPSC-regulatedindustries, their lawyers and affiliates. Boissiere ran an old school campaign that didn’t hold a candle to the excitement and enthusiasm that Lewis was able to generate with young progressive voters and those older voters who were tired of high utility bills and environmental racism in Cancer Alley.

As the election grew near, Lewis’ ground team led by Norris Henderson from V.O.T.E. inundated the city with signs to remind voters what was at stake. On Election Day a small army of workers reinforced that message on dozens of street corners. Lewis ran especially well in Baton Rouge but also beat Boissierein his home base here in New Orleans.

Lewis’ extraordinary strength as a first-time elected official is undeniable. Other politicians, including the state’s Democratic leaders who virtually ignored him during the campaign, will have to show Lewis respect. Lewis’ winning coalition has set a high bar for the changes they expect to see at the LPSC. He will arrive at the LPSC carrying a big stick. Let’s hope Lewis can quickly forge the necessary relationships to pass meaningful legislation before climate change takes its toll.

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