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'Not here to settle scores:' Landry issues call for unity as he becomes Louisiana governor

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BATON ROUGE — Gov.-elect Jeff Landry said Sunday that Louisiana needs statesmen and not politicians, and that its voters demand leadership that places the greater good above individual agendas that many can bring to state government.

"Our people did not send us here to settle scores or engage in battles created by secretly funded manipulators that profit by dividing Americans," Landry said. "Instead, the people sent us here to repair and reform their government and to unleash innovation and production, so their future and the future of their children are made better."

Under the state constitution, Landry officially assumes power at noon Monday. Inauguration ceremonies were moved up a day to avoid bad weather expected Monday.

After a tenure as attorney general that saw the Republican draw lines in the sand with Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, Democratic President Joe Biden and even the state's public school librarians, Landry cited the Battle of New Orleans in calling for unity.

In a battle fought 209 years ago Monday, American forces including a wealthy few, the working poor, slaves, fishermen and pirates fought against the British at the end of the War of 1812.

"Those Louisianians represented the magnificent diversity and courage of our state that exists today," Landry said. "They were men of all colors, ethnicities, backgrounds, status and religions.

"This story is our story," he said.

In an address that lasted more than a half-hour, the governor-elect made an indirect reference to his cultural fight a year ago against sexually explicit material available at school libraries. He had said last February that Louisiana needed a law to restrict what minors can check out, saying it was about "protecting the innocence of children and giving parents a say in what content they are exposed to."

Sunday, in a similar sentiment, he said Louisiana residents want a government "that reflects ... wholesome principles, and not an indoctrination behind their mother's back."

"The most important voice in a child's education should be that of their parents," he said. "It is only through education without indoctrination that a child finds his or her true potential."

Landry said he wanted to sow a culture of joy, love, kindness and hospitality while governor, and appealed to former residents to listen for the voice from home.

"We know far too well why those who leave our state for other opportunities, shall always hear the whisper of the live oak to come back home," he said. "The everlasting love of our culture tugs at their heart. It speaks to their soul.

"Coming home to Louisiana feeds their soul and their endearing longing to be here; home where they belong," he said.

Other statewide officials also took their oaths of office Sunday. 

Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, the only incumbent returning to state government in the same role, highlighted accomplishments in his role as the state's chief tourism officer. He noted Louisiana's placing parade floats in the Macy's and Rose parades in recent years and their role in boosting the number of visitors to the state.

"We can do so much for the greater good for Louisiana if we work together," he said.


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