Why Troy Carter Says He’s “More Ready Now” to Win a Congress Seat | Elections
Troy Carter appeared on the verge of being elected mayor of New Orleans in 2002. He was young, handsome and well known to voters, having spent the previous eight years on city council. He raised more money than the other candidates and he got a lot of support. But he finished a disappointing fifth in a race won by businessman Ray Nagin.
In 2006, Carter was one of many candidates who challenged U.S. Representative Bill Jefferson, who was gravely injured in a corruption scandal. Once again, he finished fifth and ended up spending over a decade out of office.
Carter got a second act when he won the 2015 State Senate election. Now 57, Carter looks to have his last chance at top positions as he campaigns to replace Cedric Richmond in a congressional district designed ten years ago to elect a Black Democrat like him. Made up of 10 parishes, it includes most of New Orleans and the west side of Jefferson Parish and stretches from the Mississippi through the river parishes to north of Baton Rouge, including Southern University.
“I’m definitely more ready now because I have more experience, because I have learned, because I have lived, because I have seen,” Carter said in an interview. “I have been in the vineyards as a simple citizen and elected official”.
Carter’s election record and campaign priorities place him firmly in the liberal wing of the National Democratic Party, but he also espouses popular belief among conservatives that it is important to create opportunities for people so that they can. rise without government help.
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day,” he said, citing a popular maxim. “Teach a man to fish and you feed him all his life.”
Carter’s main stakes over the past five years in the State Senate have been to raise the minimum wage and outlaw discrimination against gays and lesbians. Along with other Democrats, he voted for the sales tax increases requested by Gov. John Bel Edwards to fill the state’s budget deficit.
As he runs for Congress, Carter’s priorities include ensuring that coronavirus vaccines reach poor communities, supporting a massive infrastructure bill to rebuild highways, bridges and networks. sewers, eliminate up to $ 50,000 in federal debt per student, and increase spending on early childhood education programs.
Carter reportedly voted to impeach President Donald Trump because “the January 6 insurgency sparked by his hate speech is something I will always consider un-American. This is not what this country represents.
The criticism most often heard about Carter is that he lacks substance.
When asked on Friday if he supports the Green New Deal – which is championed by progressives like US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez but which is decried by supporters of the oil and gas industry – he simply called her “an excellent frame” and said he wanted to move away from fossil fuels. But he did not attempt to delve into and explain why he does not fully endorse the ambitious plan and / or spell out what government officials should do to promote renewable energy.
Early voting for the special election began on Saturday and ends this Saturday. The primary takes place on March 20.
Political insiders expect Carter to finish first or second and win a berth in the second round against State Senator Karen Carter Peterson, also a Democrat of New Orleans, or Claston Bernard, a small businessman de Gonzales who was supported by the Louisiana Republican Party. Gary Chambers Jr., an activist and advocate for Democrats and Baton Rouge who has a compelling message and huge social media success, could claim a spot in the second round.
Carter comes to Congress as a problem solver who gets things done because he works well with others.
He said he learned these traits growing up in Algiers as the youngest of six children born to a mother who returned to school in her 30s to graduate from Xavier University and became a teacher. . Carter had little contact with his father.
Carter followed her mother by graduating from Xavier. He then spent three years as a lobbyist for the mayor of New Orleans, Sidney Barthelemy. In 1991 he was elected to State House, and in 1994 he ousted Jackie Clarkson to claim District C’s seat on city council, representing Algiers and the French Quarter.
Asked about his eight-year tenure on the board, Carter said he was most proud to sponsor an ordinance banning large tour buses from the French Quarter, another ordinance establishing the rights of domestic partners and helping persuade Walmart executives to build a giant store in Algiers.
After leaving the board in 2002 following his poor result in the mayoral race, Carter began working full time as a consultant for clients seeking help navigating government. He said he continues to remain civically active in the private sector, chairing the Downtown Development District, chairing the Boys and Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana and hosting a free annual Thanksgiving meal in Algiers.
“I never stopped my service,” Carter said.
In 2015, he won the election for a Senate constituency that includes Algiers as well as Terrytown and Gretna in Jefferson Parish. The father of two sons – one to Xavier, the other to Howard – Carter lives with his second wife in the closed neighborhood of English Turn.
During his five years in the Senate, he was one of a handful of lawmakers, all Democrats, to vote against pro-life legislation. In 2020, Carter sided with trial lawyers when he voted against a measure that trade groups say would lower auto insurance rates by limiting lawsuits. Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed the bill, saying he didn’t think it would cut rates.
Carter’s efforts to raise the minimum wage and outlaw discrimination against gays and lesbians have failed every year in the Republican-majority legislature, as have his efforts to secure the release of non-violent geriatric criminals and to ban the sale. weapons to anyone under the age of 21. the age limit is 18 years.
Carter passed a law that grants legal immunity to anyone who breaks into a car in an attempt to save a child or animal that has been left inside and appears to be in distress. Another law that has become law prohibits anyone from tying up a dog or cat before a hurricane. Carter said he had two dogs named Beaux and Millie and a cat named Milo.
In February, Carter was denounced by neighbors of a house he owns at the tip of Algiers that had fallen into disrepair after a fire 18 months earlier. Carter criticized the city’s authorization process for delaying work, which is now underway.
Carter is running for Congress after Richmond resigned in January to take a leadership role in the White House. Richmond endorsed Carter, as did New Orleans City Council President Helena Moreno, State Senator Cleo Fields from Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng.
Carter said he won the approvals because he blended in well with his co-workers.
“In a legislative body you have to be able to work with people,” he said. “You have to be always present. You have to introduce yourself. You have to stand out. You need to listen to other people’s concerns if you want them to hear yours.
When asked if he drew a contrast with Peterson, who had a difficult relationship with his fellow lawmakers, Carter replied, “Sure.
Judy Jumonville, Director of the Advocate Library, contributed to the research for this article.