America's political landscape will change dramatically after the inauguration of President- elect Donald Trump in January 2017. Already there are mixed messages coming from his transition team as to some of the promises he made while running. For now, we can only go by the man's words and how they may affect Louisianans.
In the weeks and months to come, we will keep an eye on the following:
• The president-elect has promised to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but has provided few details. As of mid-November, more than 339,000 previously uninsured Louisianans are receiving health care through the ACA. We promise to outline their options and find out from doctors which screenings, tests and procedures they should get done now should the ACA go away — with a special focus on women's health care. (Meanwhile, the open enrollment period continues through the end of January; visit www.ldh.louisiana.gov.)
• The president-elect has made it clear that he does not believe in climate change and promises to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and key environmental protections. We promise to speak out for clean air, clean water and Louisiana's fragile coast.
We can only go by the man's words and how they may affect Louisianans.
• The vice president-elect has signaled his continued opposition to LGBT rights in all matters, including employment and marriage. Meanwhile, the president-elect told 60 Minutes he wouldn't attempt to turn back the clock on same-sex marriage as it was settled law. However, he did say he would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade (which also is settled law) by appointing a Supreme Court justice who would return a woman's right to choose to individual states. This is a conflicting message. We will follow closely any efforts to erode worker protections as well as marriage and abortion rights at the national level, and provide information as to what legal steps people in Louisiana can take in response to such efforts.
• The president-elect tweeted that ongoing rallies against his election were the work of "professional protesters" and "incited by the media." To use his word: Wrong. While we do not support anyone breaking the law, we will continue to support Americans' First Amendment right to rally and protest, just as was done in 2009 with the formation of the tea party and its marches across the country.
• The president-elect's new chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has drawn fulsome praise from white supremacists everywhere, including Louisiana's David Duke and the chairman of the American Nazi Party. We won't stop reminding everyone of this.
Finally, we are going to ask this much of you: Good reporting costs money. Already there are campaigns to encourage Americans to subscribe to leading newspapers and online news outlets. Gambit is a free paper, but reporting news through a lens of how it applies locally also costs money. We are locally owned and read, and we thank the many local advertisers who see the value and importance of our work. We promise to work harder than ever in the coming years to earn your support.