Louisiana Democrat Votes For School Choice Bill, Says He Can No Longer Back ‘Failing Schools’
Louisiana House.

A speech from a Democrat representative in favor of a school choice bill went viral as the Louisiana House voted overwhelmingly on Monday to pass the measure, which now goes on to the state Senate.

Rep. Jason Hughes, a Democrat representative from New Orleans since 2019, gave a passionate speech from the House floor in support of proposed legislation that would create an education scholarship program for parents to choose alternative options to the default public school system. The bill passed the House 72-32 with 65 Republicans and seven Democrats backing the bill. 

“As I watch children in poverty, trapped in failing schools, who can hardly read, I’d be damned if I will continue to defend the status quo,” Hughes said in his speech, which was viewed over half a million times on X. “Too many of our children are dropping out, and then we wonder why we have to have a crime session.” 

“I know the political ramifications for me for voting for this bill,” Hughes added. “But I don’t need this $16,800 a year job bad enough to watch our children continue to live in poverty, and trapped in failing schools, and not try to do something.”

“And in the event I’m not re-elected, this is what I know: my steps are ordered. This is what I know: my heart is pure. I came here to do tough things. I came here to make tough decisions. And I came here to put children first,” he said. 

Last week, Hughes voted alongside Republicans on the Louisiana Appropriations Committee to advance the legislation to the House floor. Democrats have historically been opposed to school choice proposals in part because of their strong ties to teachers unions. 

“I can’t close my eyes to the 67% of 3rd graders in public schools who cannot read. I cannot close my eyes to the number of kids living in poverty in our state that are trapped in failing schools,” he said. 

House Bill 745, known as the Giving All True Opportunity to Rise Scholarship Program, was authored by Republican Rep. Julie Emerson. It would create a three-phase education scholarship program starting with students in impoverished families before expanding out. 


“This program will allow the money to truly follow the child and empower the parents to be able to choose the education that it is best for their child,” Emerson said. “I don’t believe this bill will shut down our public schools and nor is that my desire at all. I don’t believe there has been a single school closure in a state that has adopted an ESA program.”

If passed by the state Senate, Republican Governor Jeff Landry is expected to sign it as he praised the House’s passage of the bill. 

“The Louisiana House just passed the Gator Scholarship Program! This is a major step towards ensuring school choice, and empowering parents to choose the learning environments that align with their values and work best for their children,” he said

Both Alabama and Georgia have already passed school choice measures this year and Tennessee is also looking to expand its school choice program as well as its legislative session winds down. 

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Louisiana Democrat Votes For School Choice Bill, Says He Can No Longer Back ‘Failing Schools’