NEWS

Brandon Trosclair announces candidacy for Secretary of State

Staff Report

Ascension Parish businessman Brandon Trosclair announced he will run for Louisiana Secretary of State, according to a news release.

Known locally as the owner and operator of the 13-store grocery chain Ralph's Market and Butcher Boy, Trosclair pledged to restore public trust in Louisiana's elections, which he said have been tarnished by years of mismanagement and controversy.

"Like many of my fellow citizens, I’m appalled by the trainwreck of political infighting and questionable ethics that has characterized the current Secretary of State’s time in office," Trosclair stated in the news release. "He’s had multiple chances to clean up the mess he’s made. It’s time for a change. We need fresh leadership in this important office."

Brandon Trosclair, owner and operator of a chain of grocery stores, is shown in a file photo.

The release called the current secretary, R. Kyle Ardoin, a former lobbyist and career politician. Trosclair pointed out that he is a "successful businessman, conservative activist, and proven defender of individual liberty."

"Every day, I’m meeting face-to-face with my customers. I understand their needs and concerns. They respect that I’m not someone who is beholden to special interests. I built my business by earning their trust and that’s how I’ll serve as Secretary of State," Trosclair stated.

The release went on to mention two efforts by the secretary to update voting machines.

"Twice the current Secretary of State’s efforts to replace aging voting machines have been halted in the face of bid-rigging allegations (whereby a favored vendor is given an inside track), voided contracts, and charges of political meddling," the release read. "He has faced withering criticism from state procurement officials, Governor Edwards, and leaders of both parties for his lack of transparency and attempts to allegedly manipulate the outcome."

Trosclair said he is a long-time grass-roots conservative leader who is most known for his successful legal challenge to the Biden administration's attempt to force employers to fire workers who chose not recieve COVID-19 vaccinations.

"I’m always going to stand up for my workers and for citizens across this state," he stated. "My successful lawsuit against Joe Biden’s power-grab wasn’t about vaccines, pro or con. It was about defending an individual’s right to make their own medical decisions. It was about standing up to the federal government’s attempted coercion of our lawful rights. That’s the determination and uncompromising principle I promise to apply to overseeing our elections."

Trosclair described his plan for Louisiana’s election system as "common sense, pragmatic, and proven."

"First, people, not machines, will ultimately determine election outcomes," the release continued. "Technology has its role in tabulation and other functions."

Trosclair said he would no longer rely on machines to validate election results. Second, paper ballots would be central to assuring election integrity. 

"A secure hand count of physical ballots must be required for all Louisiana election certifications," the release read. "A physical ballot must be the official, auditable record for Louisiana elections. Third, voter registrations will be managed by Louisiana officials and will not be outsourced to untrustworthy out-of-state vendors. Each parish (not outside parties) will be responsible for keeping voter registrations accurate and up-to-date."

Lastly, he said all RFPs soliciting outside election vendors would be conducted in a "fully transparent and ethical manner."

"No political favors, no inside deals and no more allegations of 'bid-rigging," the release added.

The campaign's website is located at letsgeauxbrandon.net.

Ascension Parish business owner Brandon Trosclair, second from right, is pictured with the legal team from the Liberty Justice Center in a file photo from January.

Brandon Trosclair battles Biden administration

In January 2022, Trosclair garnered national media attention as his lawsuit contested the Biden administration's federal vaccination mandate for larger businesses.

At the time, he employed nearly 500 people across 16 grocery stores in both Louisiana and Mississippi, including area markets in Donaldsonville, Gonzales, and Plaquemine.

The Liberty Justice Center announced the Jan. 13 Supreme Court decision to block the federal vaccine mandate. Justices ruled 6-3 to block the mandate for businesses.

Trosclair previously ran as a Republican for state representative for District 88, which includes parts of Gonzales, Prairieville, Sorrento, and St. Amant.

“Today’s victory should be celebrated by all Americans," he said in the Liberty Justice Center statement. "I filed this lawsuit because I felt it was my duty to stand up for my employees, businessowners and my fellow Americans to block this illegal mandate and protect our rights. I am relieved that this relentless government intrusion into our lives and businesses is now being pushed back by our highest court, and I am humbled and honored to have played a role in this pivotal moment in history.”

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican and medical doctor, also released a statement at the time: “Today’s ruling rejects federal government overreach. It is a win for personal liberties and the 80 million Americans affected by this decision. People should get vaccinated, but President Biden should not be able to force [private businesses] to do it. The Supreme Court agrees.”

Gonzales Weekly Citizen and Donaldsonville Chief, part of the USA Today Network of Louisiana, cover Ascension Parish and the greater Baton Rouge area. Follow at facebook.com/WeeklyCitizen and facebook.com/DonaldsonvilleChief.