Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry Pledges to Tackle Crime Crisis in Gubernatorial Campaign

Louisiana’s Republican Attorney General, Jeff Landry, has outlined a key focus on combatting crime as the centerpiece of his gubernatorial campaign. In an interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation, Landry highlighted the alarming crime rates in the state, positioning it among the highest in the nation. He aims to flip the governor’s mansion from Democratic control to Republican, emphasizing his background as the ideal candidate to address Louisiana’s crime crisis.

While discussing his campaign priorities, Landry outlined his plans to strengthen education, boost the business economy, and enhance Louisiana’s appeal as a destination for individuals and businesses. By addressing these areas, he aims to make the state more attractive and create an environment where people are encouraged to relocate.

“Of all the southern states, Louisiana is the only one who’s got an outward migration problem, and it seems to have accelerated over the last eight years,” Landry told the DCNF. “When you look at all of the metrics that you would use to determine whether or not you wanted to locate a family or business in a state, Louisiana seems to be at the bottom of those instead of the top.”

Louisiana has the highest violent crime rate in the country, with 564 violent crimes per 100,000 people, and is home to three of the nation’s most dangerous cities — New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Shreveport. Landry argued that outgoing Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ policies, like a 2017 criminal justice reform package, have accelerated the state’s crime crisis.

Landry pledged to reform sentencing guidelines and create local and regional facilities for juvenile offenders to help get them rehabilitated, while implementing educational and reentry components.

“Certainly as governor, we’re going to go back and fix the system so that when a good person makes a bad decision, they get a second chance, and when real bad people do real bad, horrific things, they go to jail for a long time,” said Landry.

The attorney general argued his campaign is “extremely well positioned” to handle the state’s crime problem, touting his long career in law enforcement, the military, and his time as Louisiana’s top attorney. Landry noted the recent case where his office convicted a drug dealer of second-degree murder because he sold narcotics to someone who overdosed, which Landry hopes will “send a message” and deter Louisianians from committing similar crimes.

The attorney general is an Army veteran and a former police officer and sheriff’s deputy, according to his campaign website. Landry is also a businessman who founded an oil and gas service company and served as executive director of the St. Martin Economic Development Authority.

In 2015, Landry beat Republican Buddy Caldwell for attorney general, and secured reelection in 2019 where he beat his Democratic opponent Ike Jackson by over 30 points, according to Ballotpedia. Landry served for one term in Congress prior to his time as attorney general, and handily beat his Democratic opponent in 2010, but lost out on a second term in 2012 after redistricting.

Landry has garnered national attention in office since joining with Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey last May in suing President Joe Biden’s administration for allegedly colluding with Big Tech to censor speech. Missouri v. Biden has led to Landry and Bailey gaining access to thousands of internal documents that detail Biden officials collaborating with social media platforms to suppress speech, including that of DCNF co-founder Tucker Carlson on Facebook.

“I think this censorship case, when it’s all said and done, will probably go down as a seminal landmark case, probably one of the most important free speech cases this century,” said Landry. “If the government has the ability to coerce or collude with Big Tech in a way that censors American Speech, there really is no reach that the government can’t grasp. I mean, it basically eviscerates the First Amendment.”

The attorney general believes that tackling the state’s crime problem will trickle down into other areas he hopes to improve, like education and the economy.

“If you don’t have a safe state, you can’t have a healthy state, and if you’re not educating your kids, you don’t have a healthy workforce, if you don’t have a healthy workforce, you can’t have a good economy. I mean, it’s like rudimentary, fundamental,” said Landry.

Only 21% of Louisiana’s third-graders have achieved basic levels in English language arts, and 75% of eighth-graders can’t do basic math, according to the 2022 LEAP scores released by Louisiana’s Department of Education. Louisiana has a literacy rate of 72.9%, ranking them 47th in the nation.

“The greatest thing that you can do to lift a person out of poverty is to educate them,” said Landry. “As Governor, we will put everything on the table to improve our educational position in this state. I think that when money follows the child and parents have more of a say, and teachers are allowed to teach and you empower parents, then you get a better outcome.”

Louisiana has an open, or “jungle,” primary where all candidates across the political spectrum will face one another on Oct. 14. If no one wins with majority in the primary, the top two contenders will go head-to-head on Nov. 18.

Landry is currently leading the only Democrat in the race — Shawn Wilson, the recently departed Secretary of Transportation and Development — by 10 points, according to a June 21 poll from the Kitchens Group and Vantage Data House. Republican candidates Stephen Waguespack, State Treasurer John Schroder and state Sen. Sharon Hewitt received 6% or less support.

Wilson did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

The attorney general touted his endorsements from the Louisiana Republican Party and former President Donald Trump, and argued his campaign’s message on crime, education and business will resonate “across party lines.”

“Quite frankly, I don’t pay attention to anyone in this race,” said Landry. “The endorsement I’m looking for is from the people of this state. The people who are running — it really doesn’t matter.”

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