Exchanging despair for hope

This week, we begin the 2018 Regular Session. I think we can all agree that it comes on the heels of a disappointing Special Session in which the Louisiana Legislature failed to address the $994 Million deficit that threatens to halt the State’s otherwise positive momentum. I was more than disappointed with the results of the Special Session-I was devastated. Devastated for our people, devastated for our children, devastated for our colleges and universities. Devastated, but resolved to move forward to effectively deal with our challenges. I cannot speak for my colleagues, although I am fairly certain they all feel the same way. Now as we move forward, we are in need of faith and guidance.

So, when we convened once again as a body yesterday and Representative Connick was asked to give the blessing, I offered him my great grandmother’s prayer card of St. Jude that I always carry with me. After some consideration, he shared with us the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, asking that those of us in the House of Representatives would come together as an instrument of peace. He continued:

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

It is time that we exchange our doubt for faith in each other and find the balance we once had. Since it is a non-fiscal session and we can’t pass tax related bills, this session is somewhat of a clean slate. Now we come back to Baton Rouge with a whole new set of legislation and issues that deserve our attention and cooperation. We have a chance to rebuild the relationships that were strained over the last few weeks and engage with each other again in meaningful and professional ways. Then we will be ready to do the hard work we need to do to enact structural budget reform in the upcoming Special Session.

The people of Louisiana deserve to live lives full of faith, hope and light, and it is our duty to make that possible.