OPINION

Louisiana Senate candidate Luke Mixon: It’s time to fix our broken politics

Luke Mixon
Luke Mixon, a Democrat from Baton Rouge, has announced his candidacy for the 2022 U.S. Senate race.

Editor's note: The following guest column was submitted by Luke Mixon, a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Louisiana. Contact him at Info@lukemixon.com. 

My grandfather was a flight engineer on a B-24 bomber during WWII. He was shot down over Europe and spent the next year as a prisoner of war. He didn’t talk much about his service, but my grandfather is my hero.

Growing up, he taught me how to shoot skeet and drive a stick shift. More importantly, he took me flying. Inspired by his patriotism, I had three goals after high school: graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy; become a fighter pilot; and go to TOPGUN.

I was fortunate to accomplish all three goals. I served as a fighter pilot in the Navy for 20 years, flying combat missions from aircraft carriers in support of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. I completed my career as the Commanding Officer of VFA-204 in New Orleans.

My wife and I returned to Louisiana after our service. We wanted to come home to be with friends and family. While we love this state, we're also frustrated.

We are high school sweethearts from Bunkie, a small farming town in Avoyelles Parish. If you drive through Bunkie, you’ll see towering sugarcane stalks against a beautiful skyline. You will also see a forgotten town with abandoned buildings where thriving businesses once stood. Unfortunately, vanishing opportunity is a familiar story across Louisiana.

This crippling lack of opportunity sends our most precious resource — our people — elsewhere in search of greener pastures. It isn't the fault of any one person. It’s a consequence of our broken politics.

We have lost faith in Washington's ability to solve our problems. Why? Because we don't see Washington solving our problems! Instead, we see a blood sport where everyone blames the other side and nothing gets done. It's all about soundbites and viral videos. Lost in this noise is the 70% of us in the middle who just want a decent job, paved roads, good schools, affordable health care and a safe neighborhood. We want our elected leaders to work together and get the job done.

Being a fighter pilot takes skill and concentration, but it also takes teamwork. It takes confidence in the sailors who repaired the jet, the officers guiding your landing, and the ordnance men and women responsible for uploading your weapons. On an aircraft carrier, teamwork is a necessity, not a luxury. Unfortunately, that's not the case in Washington.

Teamwork is rare in today's divisive politics. But I think we can all agree on three things:

Washington is dysfunctional.

Cable news is more interested in sensationalism and division than reporting the facts.

Louisiana doesn't need to take cues from either. 

I'm running for United States Senate because I believe we desperately need a responsible leader in D.C. that values the truth and puts Louisiana families first.

I'm proud of my military service, but it's frustrating to see trillions of dollars invested in schools and infrastructure for Iraq and Afghanistan only to watch Louisiana families suffer the pains of divestment. It's hard to hear Sen. John Kennedy call the bipartisan infrastructure bill "wasteful spending" and "stupid stuff." It's not! He voted against good-paying jobs, better roads, bridges, drainage, clean water, life-saving storm mitigation, and affordable internet access for every Louisianan—all of which makes our state more competitive and creates more opportunity.

For six years, we've gotten nothing but soundbites from Sen. Kennedy — and not one of them has repaved a road, reduced traffic on I-10, improved literacy rates or cut crime. Despite all his interviews, many Louisiana families still can't afford daycare, prescription medicines, pre-K or higher education.

And that's the story with Sen. Kennedy: Much has been said, but nothing has been done.

I’m a career Naval officer who graduated from the Naval Academy and TOPGUN. I might not be a gimmicky guy, but I know how to accomplish the mission. And my mission is simple: deliver results for the people of Louisiana.

Will it be difficult to defeat Sen. Kennedy? Yes. Doing the right thing is seldom easy, but I can do it. People value honesty and hard work, and no one will outwork me and I will always tell the truth. Moreover, I'm not reinventing the wheel. I'm a veteran and a moderate Democrat who will work with others to solve real problems, like Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has demonstrated how to win statewide in Louisiana (twice).

There's a lot at stake in this November’s election. We can't afford to double down on divide and conquer politics. Louisiana needs a responsible leader who puts Louisiana families first and our country before all else. I can be that leader, but I can't do it alone. It's going to take teamwork. Together, we can fix our broken politics and move Louisiana forward. I hope you will join us at LukeMixon.com.