By Data News Weekly Editorial Board
For over 50 years, in our mission as “The People’s Paper” we at Data News Weekly have championed the critical importance of having and exercising our right to vote, and we encourage you to get out and vote on March 24th. In Orleans Parish, there are three races on the ballot and we are endorsing the following candidates.
Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal: Dale Atkins
Dale Atkins is a longtime officeholder and has been someone whose honesty and integrity is needed in this most important position as a judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal. With experience in private practice and inside of government, she is armed with the tools to do an effective job. Her record of excellence is undeniable as evidenced by the public’s confidence in her ability as they continued to re-elect her as Clerk of Civil District Court for nearly three decades.
It is time for one of our most able elected officials; Dale Atkins, to be given the opportunity to serve on the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal.
Civil District Court: Ellen Hazeur
Ellen Hazeur has held multiple offices including serving on the New Orleans City Council and longtime Clerk of First City Court. Of the candidates in the race, she is the most prepared to hit the ground running and there will be no learning curve for Hazeur. She is someone who has the temperament, experience and varied background in the law to be effective as a Civil District Court Judge.
Experience and Integrity matters and we feel Ellen Hazeur possess these qualities and is the best qualified to occupy the bench as one of the Judges at Civil District Court.
Louisiana State Representative District 93
District 93 includes Parts of Treme’ and the 7th Ward, the French Quarter, the Garden District and Central City. While all areas of the City are important these areas have become places where changes are happening at a dramatic pace. We have seen development post-Katrina that is both exciting and troubling at the same time. In this seat, there must be someone who can balance these new changes forging ahead without leaving our most vulnerable citizens behind. Whoever is elected to this seat must be someone with the ability to have relationships with all the diverse stakeholders in this district to have a voice in it moving forward.
Data News Weekly believes the best candidate to accomplish this is Royce Duplessis; he is young, smart and a breath of fresh air. He has also been able to effectively forge relationships ranging from those from the old New Orleans to the new millennials that are entering the City. But as the City changes, it is important to have a new breed of local leaders to emerge and Royce Duplessis fits the bill and is equipped to fill this role.
In addition, we have looked at the hotly contested race for Jefferson Parish Sheriff. And, because of the significant population of African-Americans in the Jefferson whose voices often do not get heard but can change the outcome of an election, we decided to endorse who we felt was the best candidate in the race for Jefferson Parish Sheriff.
Sheriff Jefferson Parish: Joseph Lopinto
In the race for Jefferson Parish Sheriff Data News Weekly believes Joseph Lopinto is the best candidate to occupy this seat. He is someone who has a holistic view of law enforcement and keeping the community safe. Understanding the job of a sheriff requires more than being an officer in the street, but taking an approach that has all of the stakeholders involved guiding solutions. Throughout his long career as a deputy then a narcotics detective. Later, he worked was an attorney and managing partner of Lopinto Law Firm, LLC, a Metairie law firm that is engaged in a general civil practice and specializes in civil rights defense of sheriff’s offices and their employees.
In addition to his background in law and law enforcement; he was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives serving as Chairman of the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice. Presently, Lopinto is the interim Sheriff and has proven an effective leader. He’s also been instrumental in educating his fellow law enforcement community serving as both a teacher and mentor in the Jefferson Parish Academy as well as with other Sheriffs and law schools throughout the state. It is because of his breadth and depth of his experience and commitment we endorse Joseph Lopinto for Jefferson Parish Sheriff.
Get Out and Vote
We encourage all our citizens to get out and vote. Even though this is a special election we must in every election let our voices be heard. And while many are concerned about what is happening on the national level with President Trump, it is in these local elections where things are decided that affect us the people of New Orleans. We at the New Orleans Data News Weekly want you to get out and vote, and let your voices be heard in the shaping of our City.