Cleo Fields, candidate for Louisiana Senate District 14: “There are some things in Louisiana that we ought not have to have a license to do.” Volunteers to sponsor bill to eliminate license requirement for hair braiders.

Former Congressman and former State Sen. Cleo Fields, who is a current candidate for Louisiana Senate District 14.

State Rep. Patricia Smith, who is a candidate for Louisiana Senate District 14.

Today’s meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club was a forum of the two candidates for Louisiana Senate District 14:  Former U. S. Congressman (and former State Senator) Cleo Fields and State Rep. Patricia Smith.

Sound Off Louisiana‘s Robert Burns asked both candidates where they stand on the issue of removing licensing requirements for hair braiders.  Smith was also asked to justify her opposition to a bill by State Rep. Julie Emerson (R-Carencro) to do just that.  Let’s take a look at their responses:

Burns poses the question regarding support for a bill to exempt hair braiding from requiring a license and Fields’ response.

Now let’s take a look at Smith’s response together with her rationale for opposing Emerson’s bill:

Smith responds to the hair braiding question to include her rationale for her opposition.

Smith’s response is an absolute insult to our knowledge of behind-the-scenes negotiating that goes on at the Legislature.  Smith’s opposition (and that of many other members of the Legislative Black Caucus), contrary to her statement above that the opposition was based on “a lack of communication with the Cosmetology Board” (which is itself not a justification), is complete and utter horse manure!

We can state with unequivocal certainty that Smith’s opposition (and that of many other black state representatives) was based on a perception that Rep. Emerson would not be supportive of an increase in the minimum wage in Louisiana.

A bill to do that had just been stymied in a House Committee, and anger among black legislators spewed over, and Emerson happened to be the first legislator available upon whom to vent their frustration.

So, in other words, Smith and other black legislators were perfectly willing to suppress economic opportunities for their constituencies as a result of their dogmatic belief (despite university economists who teach that an arbitrary increase in the minimum wage increases unemployment among those earning that wage) that Louisiana’s minimum wage simply must be increased, end of story!  Wow!  That’s one hell of a way to represent a constituency!

It’s just that sort of twisted “logic” (and we’re being kind in our level of sarcasm) that necessitates entities like the Institute for Justice to end up being forced to sue the Cosmetology Board, while Smith seems to insist this Board has to be coddled and cajoled!

It is also abundantly clear from Smith’s answer that she is 100% clueless to the rampant corruption on the Cosmetology Board and that fact is almost unfathomable given the 12 years she has served in the Louisiana Legislature during which she should have become better educated regarding that Board’s corruption!

Based upon the sharply-contrasting responses to the question posed above and given that occupational licensing reform is the single most important issue to us at Sound Off Louisiana, it’s obvious that our choice for the next Senator from District 14 is Cleo Fields!

Burns posed one other question entailing rolling back the massive increase in sales taxes renewed in 2018 which have now resulted in a $500 million surplus.  Here are the candidates’ responses:

Fields and Smith provide their thoughts on rolling back sales tax increases in light of Louisiana’s $500 million budget surplus.


CLICK HERE for the forum in its entirety, which includes more than a little animus between the two candidates and Fields repeatedly stating that District 14 has been “without a State Senator” for 12 years.

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