The Pledges Are in, and the Winner Is… The Louisiana Coast!
In the lead-up to Louisiana’s fall elections, the Restore the Mississippi River Delta Coalition sponsored the Restore the Coast community engagement campaign, to highlight the important role Louisiana’s elected officials play in coastal restoration. This nonpartisan education campaign asked Louisiana voters to sign a pledge urging leaders to: be a voice for coastal restoration, protect existing and secure future coastal restoration funding, and support Louisiana’s Coastal Master Plan.
The goal of the campaign was to demonstrate the importance of coastal restoration as a central issue for all candidates. Our hope was – and still is – to send a clear message to public officials: Louisianians want leaders who will prioritize coastal restoration, by keeping restoration dollars for restoration and continuing the forward progress made through the coastal master planning process.
Thanks to Louisianians like you, we secured more than 13,555 pledge signers – exceeding our goal of 10,000! Thank you for signing the pledge, sharing it with family and friends, and helping elevate this important issue that affects us all.
Although the 2015 election season is over, our fight to protect and restore the coast is not. We will continue needing your support as Louisiana transitions into a new administration and starts a new legislative season. We are dedicated to continuing our efforts to urge leaders to make coastal restoration a priority, protect coastal restoration funds for restoration, and advance restoration projects.
Here are some highlights from this fall’s Restore the Coast campaign:
Coastal Issues Forum and candidate engagement
In August, the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana hosted the first-ever Coastal Issues Forum. All four gubernatorial candidates participated, and all four made campaign promises to prioritize coastal restoration and support the master plan – including sediment diversions.
In November, our coalition sent a letter asking both final candidates to provide their positions on how they would handle key coastal issues while in office. Both Senator Vitter and now Governor-elect John Bel Edwards sent responses indicating they would protect coastal funds for coastal restoration and protection. See their full responses.
Polling shows voters care about coastal restoration
Polling conducted this fall showed that an overwhelming majority of Louisiana voters – 94 percent – indicated that a candidate’s commitment to protect and restore Louisiana’s coast would be important to them when they voted.
That same poll found that 90 percent of Louisiana voters want the next governor to ensure funds currently dedicated to coastal restoration are not spent on anything but coastal restoration, and 87 percent want the next governor to work to identify and secure additional funding for future projects identified in the Coastal Master Plan.
Public engagement, outreach and online activities
Our coalition field staff tabled at a number of events this fall, encouraging voters to sign the Restore the Coast pledge. We also debuted three new “What Would You Miss?” interactive boards, which asked participants to write or draw what they would miss if the Louisiana coast disappeared. Check out our videos of the boards in action!
On Nov. 10, we hosted a Restore the Coast Online Day of Action to spread the word and encourage voters to sign the pledge at RestoreTheCoast.org and share it with their friends and family via email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Thanks to our fans and followers, this fall, we reached more than 1 million people online with our Restore the Coast messaging! We couldn’t have done it without you – thanks for helping spread the word and elevate this important issue.
As the new governor transitions into power and the new legislative session begins, our work if far from over. Check back for updates on what’s next for the Restore the Coast campaign and how you can get involved to ensure the new governor keeps his promises to prioritize coastal restoration, protect coastal funding for coastal restoration and protection, and support the Coastal Master Plan.
Together, we can #RestoreTheCoast.