"Every generation needs a new revolution."
- Thomas Jefferson
Imagine a world where the best and brightest step forward into public service to become leaders and problem solvers. That was the vision for our country of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Declaration of Independence at age 33, and the founding fathers when they started this experiment of representative democracy in which the governing class arises from among the governed.
It is something to think about when we vote on Oct. 2 for lieutenant governor, a post seen largely as an audition for governor. We are told that a longtime career politician with a massive campaign warchest already has dibs on Louisiana's number two spot. If that's so, if this is how politics works, we're in trouble.
We prefer a fresh look first at the qualifications of the eight people vying for the position. After such a look, we find ourselves in the unusual place of recommending the one we think is running for the right reasons, even if she is young and running for public office for the first time. Our choice is Caroline Fayard, someone we are also proud to claim as a Livingston Parish native and longtime resident. For our parish to produce a statewide elected official is long overdue. It's never happened before. Yet that is hardly the only reason for our choice. So let us tell you a few things about the qualifications of the young woman seeking the office against six men, including the current Secretary of State, a former parish president, former police juror, the head of the state Republican Party and a term-limited state senator looking for his next political gig.
In contrast to the rest of this unexciting field, Caroline Fayard, age 32, has distinguished herself both academically and professionally. In that respect, she's not unlike our current sitting governor, Bobby Jindal, the Rhodes Scholar who came to the Mansion like a breath of fresh air at age 37. Caroline, the daughter of two well-known area attorneys, grew up in Livingston Parish and graduated as Valedictorian at Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge. She attended Dartmouth and obtained her law degree from the University of Michigan. After working briefly on Wall Street, where she experienced the horrors of 9-11, she chose to return to Louisiana to practice and teach law. It was here, as a resident of New Orleans, that she then shared with the rest of us the traumatic experience of Hurricane Katrina.
It is unusual for a brilliant, accomplished, career-minded young person to turn toward public service so early in life. When it happens, the desire is likely driven by a realization of the many needs for ability and vision in government, of the bitter consequences when it falls short. We can and must do better. When we vote Oct. 2 for an office that could be a launching pad for the next governor, consider picking a home grown product and a promising young achiever who might just do something extraordinary with the chance.