Next Tuesday, November 2, Louisiana voters will elect a new Lieutenant Governor for the State of Louisiana. As you know the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism is overseen by the Lt. Governor and that person is one of the most influential spokespersons and advocates for the arts in Louisiana.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU VOTE NEXT TUESDAY: FIRST AND FOREMOST, TO VOTE FOR THE CANDIDATE OF YOUR CHOICE. SECONDLY, A HEALTHY TURNOUT MAKES A STRONG STATEMENT THAT VOTERS BELIEVE THIS IS AN IMPORTANT OFFICE!
That voters may have a clearer understanding of candidates’ positions relative to the arts and culture, the cuts we have sustained and the importance of our cultural economy, the Louisiana Partnership for the Arts Advocacy asked both candidates the following questions:
1) What have you done to support the arts and Louisiana’s cultural economy prior to running for Lieutenant Governor?
2) Statewide Arts Grants were cut 65 percent last year and Decentralized Arts Funding Grants were cut 13 percent year – what specifically will you do to restore funding to these vital programs?
3) What is the most significant challenge facing Louisiana’s next Lieutenant Governor?
The candidates’ responses are shared below:
1. I was the first man to serve as chairman of FestForAll, Baton Rouge’s largest downtown cultural event. This was in the early 1980s.
I was the first President of the River City Festivals Association, which later became part of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.
In 2007, I was King of Lollapalooza, the annual fundraiser for the Arts Council.
As a State Senator, I served as Chairman for several years of the Arts in Education Task Force and coordinated the Annual Arts Day at the Legislature.
I authored the “one percent for arts” legislation that requires one percent of any state construction project to be dedicated to the placement of works of art in state buildings.
I have written and presented a three-hour presentation entitled “Why Louisiana Ain’t Mississippi” which celebrated Louisiana’s unique history, culture, geography, characters, politics, economy and demographic legacy. I have given more than 400 speeches in and out of the state about Louisiana culture, music, movies and politics.
As Secretary of State, I created the Heroes and Heritage Trail that created a museum adventure game linking all seventeen museums in our system. I eliminated admission fees at all seventeen museums.
I tripled the number of art exhibits at the State Archives Building to allow more Louisiana artists to exhibit at this facility.
2. The decision ultimately will be left to the governor and the legislature, but I will be a vocal proponent for restoration of this funding stream. The decentralized grants are essential to a vibrant arts program throughout the state and I will promote the economic and cultural benefits that flow to local communities from such an investment.
3. Managing the dwindling budget and doing more with less. I have the experience and expertise to do so based on having run the Department of state for the past four years. The budgets are comparable and roughly the same size. I intend to involve stakeholders in the decision-making process regarding budget cuts and will seek regular advice and input from those in the arts, culture, museum and tourism communities to help set priorities and insure a balanced program, with accountability, in order to insure stability in the various cultural arenas touched by state government.
A second and equally important challenge will be to undo the damage to our seafood industry created by BP and create a new and exciting marketing brand for Louisiana.
Dear LPAA Members,
I am the strongest candidate in the race for Lieutenant Governor and would wholeheartedly appreciate your solid support. As a Louisiana native with a great love for the arts, I share your concerns. I understand that reductions of 65% and 35% to Statewide Arts Grants and Decentralized Arts Funding Grants, respectively, are some of your major concerns, and I will work to protect the arts and our cultural economy as Lt. Gov.
With the endorsement and support of the former Lt. Governor, and current Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, I will build upon the great work of the Lt Governor’s Office and stand with you as a fighter for restoring the budget cuts for arts, culture and arts education programs.
As I have discussed with some in the arts community, bringing a new vision, fresh outlook, and innovative solutions is the biggest challenge of the next Lt. Governor considering these difficult times of budget cuts. In helping restore arts programs, I will:
· Call for an Office-wide audit to find savings to reallocate.
· Establish partnerships with corporate partners doing business in the state, government
agencies, and philanthropists.
· Join you in a “Save the Arts Louisiana” movement in conjunction with you to have the
voice of the arts community and its needs to be heard.
· Rally those legislators whose district’s stand to benefit from current and restored
· Solidify a good-faith relationship with you to fulfill these promises.
Finding solutions to your issues will be a priority for me. My family and I have always been passionate about supporting and contributing to the arts and related communities in Louisiana. We are affiliated with numerous boards and organizations with the purpose of supporting and promoting Louisiana arts, culture, and the commitment of service as indicated in my biography online.
My travels throughout the state gave me the chance to visit with some of you. This gave me the special opportunity for a firsthand look at the important work you provide to our tourism industry by promoting our culture.
You will need an essential partner in government to continue that work. If I become Lt. Governor, I will dedicate time to meet many more of you and become one of those vital partners in Baton Rouge to help you save the culture of our state: arts and culture— institutions, exhibits, visual media, historical sites, culinary and music arts, and so much more.
Having your support will strengthen our partnership. I will work to find “out-of-the box” solutions to strengthen our arts and culture institutions.
My message and commitment to Louisiana, particularly you as members of our communities of arts and culture communities, is attached. I hope to count on your support on November 2nd.
High Stakes for Tourism, Jobs, and Taxpayers—The Louisiana Lt. Governor’s Race
Saving Tourism, Arts, Culture, Jobs, Education……
Caroline Fayard is the strongest choice for your next Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. She has a clear vision to put Louisiana on the path to prosperity and pledge to preserve the Lt. Governor’s Office as a major lifeline for our state’s arts, cultural economy, jobs, and taxpayers.
Caroline will fight for keep the Office of Lt. Governor intact and to increase jobs and investment in Louisiana statewide. In moving our state forward, Caroline will offer new approaches and solutions for Louisiana.
Consequences of State Budget Cuts
State Budget cuts are threatening our tourism industry ad our livlihood. The effects so far:
$1 Billion projected loss to tourism revenue as a result of the cuts to Lt. Governor’s tourism budget
$500 Million, approximately, will be cut from Louisiana college budgets by next fiscal year, since 2008
65% reduction to Statewide Arts Grants; 13% reduction to Decentralized Arts Funding Grants
9 State Park and Historical Site closures by year-end, approximately.
As Lt. Governor, Caroline will work with the Governor to find alternative solutions where we can and be a balancing force when necessary. Caroline will use the tools and resources of this office to improve the lives of Louisianans. In solving Louisiana’s problems, Caroline will bring fresh faces fresh ideas, and a fresh approach.
The Lt. Governor’s Office Generates Jobs and Tax Revenue
The Lt. Governor runs 6 agencies—Tourism, State Parks, Cultural Development, State Museums, State Library, and the Office of the Secretary—which, in 2009 generated:
24.1 Million visitors who contributed $94 Billion to the state’s economy in 2009.
$850 Million in Louisiana Tax revenue, without it, every Louisiana household would pay $550 extra in taxes.
Jobs for 1 out of 13 people in Louisiana
200,000 direct and indirect jobs—attractions, hotels and restaurants, retail, construction, etc.
Revenue from 52 Cultural District in 22 parishes.
$1.7 Billion, cumulative in private investments for Louisiana historic properties through the Louisiana Historic Preservation Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program.
$41 Million from over 2 Million visitors to 37 operational sites—20 parks, 16 historical sites, and 1 preservation area; 50,000+ students use the parks every year.
Thousands in revenue from a network of museum properties in Baton Rouge, Natchitoches, New Orleans, Thibodaux, and Patterson; the Louisiana State Museum System is an important part of the cultural economy
Louisiana is the culture Capital of this country and Caroline will build the infrastructure that will allow Louisiana to assume its rightful spot among the world. Our trademarks are musical arts, culinary arts; and creative arts; they create an unrivaled cultural economy.
As Lt. Governor, Caroline will connect the dots of economic opportunity and paint a vision for using our resources to take us into the future. The Lt. Governor’s Office has just begun to scratch the surface of cultural and natural resources tht have been the bedrock of Louisiana.
As Lt. Governor, Caroline will support our growth and accelerate our achievements, by optimizing the resources and influence of the Office of Lt. Governor to help the state grow economically and culturally. Caroline will call upon the universities to exercise their intellectual capital to help drive our economies and focus our investments. Caroline will convene the university presidents to give them the charge of formulating ideas and plans to stem state spending cuts and move the state forward by advocating and planning for:
Exponentially Growing our Creative and Cultural Economy
o Lead efforts to find new sources of funding—public and private dollars, foundations, corporations or philanthropic individuals—to capitalize on programs, facilities, improved education, arts/culture, parks re-openings, and festivals to rev up the engines of our creative economy.
Expanding Our Film Industry
o Continue and expand our “Hollywood South” brand to further to create more jobs in the digital and film media.
Seeking New Opportunities Within Our Tourism Industry
o Help restore budget cuts to our arts and cultural institutions and expand our tourism base by building vacation stays around:
Volun-tourism. Build Louisiana as a model for providing national service opportunities.
Retirement Tourism. A robust and service rich environment to encourage retirees, their adult children, and grandchildren to consider Louisiana as a new home for the entire family, not just the retiree.
Preservation Tax Credit
o Proactively support new development projects that preserve and develop cultural anchors in our communities and streamline the application processes.
State Parks and Historic Sites
o Focus on utilizing our State Parks, Historical Sites, and Libraries to keep them operational
Interstate Hwy 49
o Urge immediate completion of I-49 to which can serve as a “Louisiana Cultural Corridor” that will unite cities, communities, and rural areas bringing all of Louisiana together.
Pursuing Creative Environmental initiatives to Protect Our Seafood Industry and Wetlands
o Involve BP and energy industry leaders as community partners to protect and grow our industries for the benefit of the citizens.
o Call upon universities to develop and implement technologies for disaster preparedness that protect our tourism industry and keep Louisiana a sportsman’s paradise.
Providing Greater Access for Women & Disadvantaged Enterprises
o Empower our community-based organizations to:
Use tools and projects to develop our cultural communities.
Facilitate more service building projects with the youth community.
Work with LED to strengthen initiatives and create new approaches.
After reading these comments, which were provided by the candidates, and doing your own research, the Louisiana Partnership for the Arts Advocacy urges you to cast your vote on Tuesday, November 2 for the candidate of your choice. Then, continue to voice your concerns about arts funding and our cultural economy.
Thank you for keeping the spotlight on Louisiana Arts year round!
Tommy Usrey, Chair
Gerd Wuestermann, Vice-Chair for Advocacy
Louisiana Partnership for the Arts Advocacy (LPAA)