Schroder takes oath as La. state treasurer

KENNER, La. (LOCAL 33) (FOX 44) - Republican John Schroder is officially Louisiana's treasurer, after taking his oath of office Tuesday in Kenner.

The businessman from Covington won the seat last month, receiving 56 percent of the voter to Democrat Derrick Edwards' 44 percent. The Secretary of State's office claims voter turnout for the runoff was among the lowest ever in Louisiana. Less than 13 percent of potential voters cast ballots.

Schroder ran as a fiscal conservative, citing his nine years in the state House of Representatives. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he won a reputation as a vocal critic of perceived overspending and taxation. Louisiana faces a $1 billion revenue shortfall this coming summer, when temporary sales taxes expire. The incoming treasurer has argued that budget cuts, not tax hikes, are the solution.

"The problem is, we've got taxpayers to the point that they're tapped out, and I don't believe we're going to get any taxes passed," he told earlier this year.

Unlike his former legislative role, Schroder's new job does not grant him a direct say in tax and spending policies. The treasurer's official job is to manage funds and investments, while overseeing the state's bond commission. But Schroder says the position grants him a platform to address fiscal policy, as former treasurer John Kennedy did.

"I think the population has come to enjoy Kennedy, who raised the level of this seat," he said.

Kennedy's election last year to the U.S. Senate left the position vacant. His aide, Ron Henson, had served on an interim basis.

Political analyst Jeremy Alford expects Schroder to become a chief critic of Gov. John Bel Edwards, the only serving Democrat elected to statewide office.

"He already has a target on his back as a whipping boy of conservatives and Republican legislators," said Alford.

Despite disagreements on fiscal matters, Schroder contends he does not plan to serve purely as a foil to Edwards.

"I'm not here to throw stones," he said the night of his election. "I'm here to work."

The governor responded in kind, issuing a statement congratulating Schroder on his victory.

"John and I share a commitment to a more efficient and transparent state government," the governor wrote after the votes were tallied. "I look forward to partnering with him."

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler cites last month's record-low turnout as evidence that the state holds too many elections. Schroder, who is finishing up Kennedy's four-year term, and Edwards are both up for re-election in 2019.



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