We're done with Christmas and the year is only slightly new. A Louisiana team seems to be headed to the Super Bowl and Twelfth Night has passed us by, which means by now you should have your home peppered with things green, purple and gold. Or at least black and gold.
As I write this, I’m also looking at a tax deadline of Jan. 15, so the government is about to get its beak wet on my labors. Lawmakers are beginning to draft legislation for their spring regular session and warmer days are competing with colder days to create a climate that’s as unpredictable as it can be unbearable.
Our poor azaleas never know what to do this time of year, much like our political professionals. Time to bloom and open up? Keep it tight instead? What’s a delicate little flower to do?
Well, it’s time to embrace the reality of 2019. That's right, folks, we are collectively standing at the head of another statewide election term. A new governor and Legislature may be seated one year from now. Or, playing to the fears of many, maybe it'll be roughly the same version of state government being sworn in when January 2020 comes to collect.
So, what’s going on? If you’re one to dip into the mystic, then you may already know the tendrils of Chinese astrology have crafted quite a promise for our next round of 12 merry months. That’s because the calendar year of 2019 is the Year of the Pig, which is supposedly prime time for investors (I’m looking at you, Donor Class) and entrepreneurs (Y’all go get you some).
The Year of the Pig is likewise expected to bring rain drops of joy, friendship and love — even in Capitoland, supposedly. That would be a Good Thing. If the Legislature needed anything this term, it was goodwill, trust and love. (I’m not quite the hippie, but I’ll be as vulnerable as to admit that love was once part of the fuel that made the Capitol work — love of place, love your neighbor and love what you have. It was a countrified approached to a countrified place. These days, for too many, it has become love your party, love yourself and love what you don’t have.)
Based on my at-a-glance research, the Pig of Chinese astrology is best known for attracting success like a magnet. That’s more of a universal theme for those Looziana warriors strapping in for the governor’s race and the parade of lesser offices that will follow in its wake. This will be a year of hot politics, and the action has already started. Consider the following:
• The money competition is on in a real way for House speaker. A handful of candidates already have political action committees and a couple more are on the way. On the other side of Memorial Hall, the internal race for Senate president is shaping up as well and will become more prominent in the coming months.
• Final candidate announcements are around the corner, including at least one for the governor’s election. But don’t snooze on the makeup of our fall races until qualifying is said and done. In 2015, during our previous statewide cycle, a few candidates were lurking in the shadows until the final minutes of the qualifying process.
• Legislative contests are finally taking shape, some in surprising ways. A few lawmakers forced out of the Capitol by term limits are attempting a comeback. They’ll be outnumbered, however, by the incoming freshman class and those who have been elected since 2015.
• Lobbying shops and associations are shifting strategies and digging deep for dollars. There was more of a focus on local politics last year and 2019 will continue that trend, which includes new recruitment techniques and sophisticated fundraising operations.
• The Who Dat Nation is on the verge of greatness. Will Louisiana make another appearance in a Super Bowl? You better believe it! (If politicos thought tickets to the annual Washington Mardi Gras extravaganza were difficult to land, just wait until Drew Brees & Co. reach for the Big Ring.)
This will indeed be the Year of the Pig, and 12 months of success is exactly what the political doctor ordered. But there will only be so much success to go around. Here’s hoping you’re on the winning side in 2019.