BATON ROUGE, La. — Another high-profile candidate has joined the race for Louisiana governor.
“It’s a perfect time to be bold and aspirational and decide we want to be better,” Stephen Waguesback said. “It’s a perfect time to do it because election-wise, you’ve got big opportunities.”
Thursday at lunch, the Louisiana Association of Business And Industry President told the St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce he was still deciding whether to run for governor.
But things move quickly in politics.
By mid-afternoon, Waguesback had resigned from LABI and declared is candidacy for Louisiana’s highest office.
WWL-TV spoke with him about the opportunity shortly before his announcement.
“I think what Louisiana needs is a robust campaign, filled with people bringing different ideas, different visons,” Waguesback said. “I think what the voters deserve is to have a selection to choose from.”
Waguesback becomes the fifth republican in the race along with one democrat.
The onetime senior aide to former Governor Bobby Jindal brings a business-friendly face to the campaign. One with a potential to challenge the more conservative, perceived front runner Attorney General Jeff Landry.
“I’m a conservative but I will work with everyone and anyone to try and get a solution that moves the state forward,” Waguesback said. “That’s all I really care about.”
Chamber members talked about the qualities they would like to see in the next governor.
“Honesty, transparency, willingness to listen, not just come forth with your solutions but to listen to the business community,” St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce CEO Lacie Osborne said.
“You look across the country and you see the division that’s out there, I think the average everyday person, including business leaders, want people who can be effective,” Chamber member Michael Nicaud said. “We don’t want more polarization.”
Waguesback says he’s running for Louisiana, not against any particular candidate.
“I’m going to be one that collaborates and brings those messages together. No more bunkers. No more silos. Everyone at the same table.”
This is Waguespack’s first run for public office.
He now has just 8 months to raise money for his campaign, get out his message and gain statewide name recognition before the October 14 election.
Waguesback is joining a crowded field of candidates including State Sen. Sharon Hewitt from Slidell, Attorney General Jeff Landry, State Rep. Richard Nelson from Mandeville and State Treasurer John Schroder.
Former Transportation Secretary Shawn Wilson, a democrat also announced his candidacy this week.
Independent Hunter Lundy from Lake Charles is also in the race.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.