WASHINGTON, D.C.—As five Democrat presidential candidates travel to New Orleans this weekend, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) penned a ‘welcome’ message in The Advocate calling out their radical policy proposals that would decimate Louisiana’s economy and weaken our national security.

Read below for the full op-ed.

Steve Scalise: Dem presidential hopefuls visiting New Orleans are hurting La. with their policies

Five Democrat presidential candidates plan to speak at Essence Festival in New Orleans this weekend, including U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

To the presidential hopefuls, I’d like to say, “Welcome to New Orleans.” While I hope they enjoy Louisiana’s world-famous hospitality, I’d like to know if they’ll be explaining how their far-left agenda would decimate Louisiana’s economy, increase hospital wait times for seniors, and undermine our national security.

Louisianans haven’t forgotten all the broken promises from liberal Washington politicians over the years. The same hucksters who promised, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it,” are now cheerleading socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ radical plan to outlaw private health insurance. Even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this Medicare-for-All pipe dream would increase wait times for seniors, reduce access to care, and require trillions in new taxes.

To add insult to injury, every single candidate on stage during a recent Democrat presidential debate proudly raised a hand when asked if they would provide free health care to immigrants here illegally. What an insult to hard-working families who have to pay more and wait longer for care. President Donald Trump said it best: “How about taking care of American citizens first?”

Louisiana communities wear the scars of Democrat extremism. In 2016, Spencer Chauvin, a fire chief in St. John the Baptist Parish, was killed by an immigrant here illegally while responding to a call. Abolishing ICE and encouraging sanctuary cities, policies advanced within the Democrat Party, will only result in more pain and heartbreak for Louisiana families. America has a proud history of immigration, but immigration must be legal and orderly. Open borders undermine our security.

Now, for some advice: Don’t even try selling Louisianans on the Green New Deal. Folks around here know a thing or two about energy, and don’t need to be lectured about banning fossil fuels and airplanes from people who flew here on private jets. Louisiana’s energy industry fuels America, creates great careers, and provides hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to restore our coast.

More than 260,000 Louisianans work in the energy industry, and many more work in supporting jobs. Alarmist climate plans would only send high-paying jobs to countries like China and India, who don’t share our high environmental standards.

Under Louisiana’s oil-and-gas revenue sharing model, millions of dollars go to rebuilding vanishing coastlines and funding hurricane protection efforts. This year, those funds totaled nearly $100 million. Socialist liberals could learn a thing or two about the harmonious link Louisiana has made between abundant energy resources and coastal restoration projects.

The president has worked hard to get our economy back on track and promote American energy exploration. Unemployment is at record lows, and wages are at record highs. Why do these candidates want to reverse this growth by raising taxes, banning fossil fuels, and eliminating the private health insurance that more than 160 million Americans enjoy?

I’m sure many here in Louisiana would like to know:

  • Do these Democrats support taxpayer-funded abortions? Do they agree with the governors of New York and Virginia that a baby born alive during an abortion can be murdered outside the womb?
  • Do they support sanctuary cities and the open borders policies that led to the death of Spencer Chauvin and many others?
  • Will they pledge not to raise taxes on Louisiana families? Will they keep unelected bureaucrats in Washington out of our health care decisions?
So again, I welcome these presidential candidates to New Orleans and hope they’ll learn something about Louisiana values while they’re here in our great state.