FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 8, 2020
Contact: Allyson Sanders
Louisiana Democratic Party Statement on the LAGOP’s Lawsuit to Block Equal Representation in the State Central Committee
BATON ROUGE, LA –
Tuesday, the LAGOP cancelled qualifying for the Republican State Central Committee due to an ongoing lawsuit filed by Rep. Beryl Amedee and the LAGOP. This lawsuit challenges a state statute that would now require the LAGOP give equal representation to women in the state central committee, a statute they’ve avoided since its beginning.
“The LAGOP has already made clear they don’t value equal representation or diversity in their party leadership. Now, they’re going even further and openly fighting it,” Stephen Handwerk, Executive Director of the Louisiana Democratic Party said. “The sole intent of this lawsuit is to prevent women from having an equal voice in their party. This is just the latest event in a disturbing pattern of leadership that prioritizes a boys’ club mentality over progress.
“The LAGOP isn’t just refusing to give equal representation to women, they’re costing taxpayers countless resources with this frivolous lawsuit. They could have filed legislation any time to change this law, but that would have raised eyebrows. Now, because of their failed leadership, there are only two solutions: Cost Louisiana taxpayers even more by continuing this lawsuit and forcing clerks to run a second round of qualifying; or, in a backroom of their old boys’ club, hand pick their party leadership for the next four years. Either way, it’s unacceptable and offensive.
“The Louisiana Democratic Party knows the value of diversity and inclusive representation is paramount to having a vibrant and winning coalition. We will always fight for these core principles. This latest lawsuit makes you wonder what the LAGOP is really afraid of and why they would go to these extremes.”
Since the process was put in place, Louisiana Democrats have followed these statutes and encouraged both men and women to have a voice in the state party. Qualifying for the Democratic State Central Committee begins Wednesday, Jan. 8 and ends Friday, Jan. 10.
In 1982, the Legislature created a process in the state election code for members to be elected to the parties’ central committees, consisting of 210 members consisting of one man and one woman from each House District. Republican legislators then passed an exemption for their party that allowed the state central committee to create its own election rules if the party possessed “thirty percent or less of the registered voters in the state … on the day of the close of registration for the gubernatorial general.” Republican registration has now exceeded that number.
Last year, LAGOP leadership showcased their bias against women in their process, candidate recruitment and investments. After multiple legislators came forward to share the lack of support for Republican women candidates, the Chair responded with sexist comments accusing them of being too emotional to run for office. This now seems to be a disturbing pattern in LAGOP leadership.