In this Election Cycle the City of New Orleans is doing a sea change in leadership. In several key races incumbent candidates were defeated by political newcomers. Now the question becomes, what does this mean for the future of the City of New Orleans. What type of leadership do we expect from those who we have charged with shaping public policy?
A New City Council
When the new City Council is sworn in, it will have five new members: JP Morrell, Leslie Harris, Freddie King, Eugene Green and Oliver Thomas. These alongside, Helena Moreno and Joseph Giarrusso, will lead the legislative branch of our City Government.
While turnout was low, this does not negate the fact that their job is to serve all the people of their respective districts and the city more broadly. They must find ways to work together on policies that work for all the residents of the city.
This was illustrated most profoundly by the election of Oliver Thomas, whose story of redemption is a metaphor for a city that needs new approaches to old problems like crime, poor infrastructure, lack of affordable housing and inequality.
Moreover, as the city is changing demographically, it is important to note how they can continue to serve older residents while embracing newcomers to the city who are as committed to its betterment and have offered themselves up for service.
This is happening across the city, but in District B, in this cycle, we saw newcomer Leslie Harris win over Jay Banks, someone who is steeped into the culture and fabric of New Orleans. While this was a race that at some point became contentious, it is important to note that citizens come together and work on common things that can lift all residents to a better standard of living across the city.
Criminal Sheriff and Clerk of Criminal District Court
In an upset victory Susan Hutson defeated long time Criminal Sheriff Marlin Guzman. What this means for the future of the office is currently unknown. What will the impact of new leadership have on problems that go far beyond what happens on Tulane and Broad? Where solutions to crime in the city requires more holistic approaches.
In the race for Clerk of Criminal District Court, Darren Lombard was victorious and comes to the office armed with the experience and necessary skill set to succeed Arthur Morrell.
City Government: Working for All the People
If New Orleans is to become a better city for all, having competent people in office who put the good of the people before themselves is important moving forward. To realize that all zip codes matter in the city not just a few. To help build consensus that newcomers and longtime residents are equally important to the city having the potential to be what it could be. But most importantly, people must become civically engaged. While voting is only one way to do this, it is important to work on things that can improve communities and the quality of life for all people across the City of New Orleans.