BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Before voters hit the polls this October, they have a big decision to make on who they want the next governor of Louisiana to be. State Sen. Sharon Hewitt is vying to hold Louisiana’s highest office.
“I understand how government works. I know what our challenges are. I know what our opportunities are,” Hewitt said.
Before serving eight years in the state Senate, Hewitt was an engineer for Shell oil. She wants to bring a different option for voters, not only as the sole woman running for governor but with an engineer’s problem-solving skills.
“I think that if we want to do something different in Louisiana and not just continue to be mediocre, we have to start electing different kinds of people,” Hewitt said.
In her eight years as a state legislator, Hewitt has passed numerous bills. Her focus primarily has been on education.
“I passed legislation two years ago that switched us to phonics, and we’re starting to see the benefit of that,” Hewitt said.
Her experience as an engineer on an oil rig also keeps her pushing for more STEM education. Another bill she recently passed aims to get math test scores up after they continued to drop year after year.
“We’re going back to the basics in math with arithmetic, as we did with phonics,” Hewitt said.
Crime has taken a front seat this election year, and the Slidell Republican said she has started taking steps to tackle the issue in the legislature.
“Fentanyl is one of the things I hear about everywhere when I travel the state,” Hewitt said.
She recently passed a bill that increased the penalty for people creating deadly pills laced with fentanyl. Hewitt also supports increasing pay for law enforcement officers and investing in technology to help different agencies communicate about inmates.
“We need real truth in sentencing, and we need the technology so that all of these agencies can better communicate and work together,” Hewitt said.
Homeowners across the state are feeling the pain of homeowner’s insurance skyrocketing. Some have seen their premiums quadruple over the past few years. People in the southern part of the state also have to combat increased flood insurance rates with the new Risk Rating 2.0 equation.
Hewitt believes part of the plan is to get more companies to write policies.
“Many of them have just said, ‘I don’t want to deal with that regulatory regime,’” Hewitt said.
She wants to get the power of determining rates back to the companies.
Hewitt saw the recent wave of legislation aimed at the LGBTQ community that is believed to be discriminatory. Hewitt voted in favor of all three main bills, including overturning the governor’s veto of the ban on gender-affirming care for minors.
“Children are not capable at that age of making those kinds of life-changing decisions,” Hewitt said.
She also supported the state’s version of the Don’t Say Gay bill, stating teachers should not be discussing gender identity and sexual orientation in the classroom.
Hewitt also was a leader in passing the state’s strict abortion ban. When asked if she’d be open to allowing exceptions for rape and incest into the law, she said she hasn’t seen a bill allowing it that she agrees with.
“I have not seen any other legislation or any other bills proposed that I thought did a better job than what we have in place right now,” Hewitt said.
Being one of five Republicans in the race, Hewitt feels she strays from the political beaten path, hoping to bring Louisiana off the bottom of so many lists.
“I want to give our kids and our grandkids the best job opportunities possible.”
The primary is set for Oct. 14. The general election will be Nov. 18.