|Voter's Guide, 2020 Fall Elections, Louisiana
|Position ||Public Service Commission, District 5 |
|Party Affiliation||Democrat |
|Profession||Businessman, Cattle Farmer, Elected Official |
|Present Employer / position||Owner-Operator of Campbell Insurance Agency & Campbell Farms|
|Length of residence in Jurisdiction||Lifetime (73 Years)|
|List of educational institutions and degrees||Business and Math Degree, Northwestern State College, Natchitoches|
|Prior elected and appointed positions||State Senator, District 36, 1976-2002|
|Civic involvement and affiliations||LA Cattleman’s Association, Quail Unlimited|
Questions specific to the position
|1. What goals do you want to accomplish as a Public Service Commissioner?
||I have three specific goals: 1) Keep our utility rates as reasonable as possible (the U.S. Department of Energy earlier this year said Louisiana had the “lowest retail electric rates in the United States”); 2) Assure the continuity of essential utility services (water, energy and broadband access), even during emergencies such as COVID and hurricane season; and 3) Expand access to high-speed internet service for rural and suburban families, guaranteeing them an equal opportunity to work and learn even in the most difficult circumstances. |
|2. Now that working from home and virtual classrooms have become normalized, in what ways would you expedite efficient, high speed access to the internet for all Louisiana residents, regardless of geographic location or neighborhood demographics?
||Few issues have generated more requests for help to my office than broadband access in rural and suburban areas of North Louisiana, even though the PSC does not regulate internet service. On an individual basis I have advocated for hundreds, if not thousands, of constituents in need of internet service, and often these contacts result in service to the customer. More broadly I have identified more than $600 million in federal subsidies coming to Louisiana to expand internet in unserved and underserved areas. I will work to connect federal agencies like the FCC and USDA to citizens and communities in need of broadband and help expand this essential, but unregulated, service.|
|3. What priority will you give renewable energy resources, such as energy efficiency programs and solar and wind installations, in the mix of energy supply for customers? Do you plan to promote any? Discuss with regard to residential and large commercial installations.
||I have consistently supported energy-efficiency programs at the PSC for residential, commercial and institutional utility customers. I have fought for equitable treatment of the thousands of rooftop solar users in Louisiana despite opposition from electric companies resisting homeowner-generated electricity. I have also been a leader in the transition to utility-scale wind and solar power, which in recent years have become economically competitive with fossil fuels for power production. Louisiana is blessed with all forms of energy and should be a leader in this field, for jobs, low rates and resistance to climate change.|
|4. Should the Public Service Commission have a major role to play in requiring companies to ensure storm-hardened transmission lines?
||Any doubts about the need to harden our electric grid against storms were destroyed by Hurricane Laura. Winds as high as 136 miles per hour were recorded at Fort Polk in Vernon Parish. The storm damaged or destroyed high-voltage transmission lines serving thousands of homes and businesses in North Louisiana, and as of this writing the utilities are still restoring service in my district. Those who study climate say these storms are increasing in frequency and strength. As the main regulator of monopoly utilities in Louisiana, the PSC has a duty to review this trend and provide leadership.|
P.S: In 2007 I authored a rule at the PSC that waives utility deposits for victims of family violence. Louisiana was the second state in the nation to approve this policy. It recognizes that those who suffer family violence often do not have the resources to afford costly deposits for electricity, water and other essential services, meaning they cannot easily relocate out of harm’s way. Such deposits can exceed $500 and become