Newcomer wins seat on Louisiana Public Service Commission

Dec 9, 2022, 5:06 PM | Updated: Dec 11, 2022, 6:31 pm

FILE -Davante Lewis poses for a photo in Baton Rouge, La., Tuesday, May, 12, 2020 Lewis is running for Louisiana Public Service Commissioner. In the Deep South, a typically lackluster multi-parish race for a seat on an obscure Louisiana regulatory body has gained national attention this election season. (Mark Saltz/The Advocate via AP)

(Mark Saltz/The Advocate via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Newcomer Davante Lewis, a Democrat backed by an environmental political action committee, easily won Saturday’s runoff for a seat on Louisiana’s Public Service Commission — an obscure regulatory body that has received national attention from media, celebrities, climate change activists and major public utility companies.

The 30-year-old progressive policy advocate received 59% of the vote to defeat incumbent Lambert Boissiere III, who received 41% with all participating precincts reporting.

Boissiere held a seat for nearly 18 years on the five-member commission, which regulates the state’s public utility companies and energy sector and sets electric rates, among other oversight powers.

“Tonight, we have begun a new chapter for Louisiana,” Lewis said in a statement. “Tonight, the people of Louisiana start taking our power back. Tonight, Louisiana has a Public Service Commissioner who’s unafraid to hold Entergy accountable, because I owe this victory to the people of Louisiana and their commitment to a brighter, cleaner, and 100% renewable future.”

The Associated Press could not immediately reach Boissiere or a campaign representative for comment.

The multiparish election, covering an area stretching from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, saw hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into the race by major utility companies and outside political action committees.

Environmentalists have become increasingly focused on the commission in a state with a front-row seat to the effects of climate change and where tens of thousands of jobs are tied to the oil and gas industry. Even Hollywood paid attention to the runoff between the two Democrats, with “Avengers” star Mark Ruffalo chiming in on social media with his support for Lewis.

Lewis noted multiple priorities, including expanding renewable energy, strengthening Louisiana’s vulnerable power grid and tackling the state’s ballooning electricity bills that are largely a result of high prices for natural gas, a key fuel for Louisiana utilities.

“We rose up and said Louisiana is ready for a new energy future. One in which every Louisianian can count on clean air and water, a warm house in the winter, a cool horse in the summer and utility bills that don’t break the bank,” Lewis said.

Although Lewis and Boissiere are members of the same political party, money poured into the race and certain contributors became major points of contention.

Keep the Lights On, an affiliate of the Environmental Defense Fund, released attack ads against Boissiere for accepting campaign contributions from utility companies regulated by the commission including Entergy, Louisiana’s largest power company. While these types of contributions are legal in Louisiana, they have been scrutinized over the years.

“The monopoly utility companies, oil, gas and petrochemical industries and political establishment who tried to sink our movement will not disappear because of this election,” Lewis said following the election. “We must continue to root out corruption and unrig the system, to hold me and my fellow commissioners accountable, and to advocate for bold, new solutions.”

The commission has for years resisted calls to mandate power companies get a certain share of their power from renewables, but activists are hopeful their stance will change, The Advocate reported.

The commission consists of three Republicans and two Democrats, including Lewis, in a reliably red state.

Louisiana has been riddled by destructive hurricanes making landfall more frequently while coastal areas have been eaten away by erosion, subsidence and rising sea levels. The Mississippi River recently reached record low water levels.

The state also abuts the Gulf of Mexico and has tens of thousands of jobs tied to the oil and gas industry. In 2021, Louisiana ranked third among the top natural gas-producing states, accounting for nearly 10% of the United States’ natural gas production that year, behind only Texas and Pennsylvania.

Voters on Saturday also approved all three constitutional amendments on the ballot, banning non-United States citizens from registering to vote or casting ballots in Louisiana — closing a possible loophole — and giving the state Senate the opportunity to weigh in on the governor’s appointments to two oversight panels.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The logo for OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, appears on a mobile phone, in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 31...
Associated Press

Cheaters beware: ChatGPT maker releases AI detection tool

ChatGPT is trying to curb its reputation as a freewheeling cheating machine with a new tool that can help detect if artificial intelligence wrote it
19 hours ago
This undated photo provided by the Grants Pass Police Department shows Benjamin Obadiah Foster. Fos...
Rio Yamat and Andrew Selsky, Associated Press

Oregon kidnap suspect previously released the day he arrived at prison

A man at the center of an intense police search in Oregon after a violent kidnapping last week was released from custody in October 2021 by Nevada prison officials on the same day he was transferred to the state's custody to serve a kidnapping sentence, authorities said Monday.
19 hours ago
The final Boeing 747 sits on the tarmac outside of the factory at a ceremony for delivery, Tuesday,...
Associated Press

Boeing bids farewell to an icon, delivers last 747 jumbo jet

SEATTLE (AP) — Boeing bid farewell to an icon on Tuesday, delivering its final 747 jumbo jet as thousands of workers who helped build the planes over the past 55 years looked on. Since its first flight in 1969, the giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of […]
19 hours ago
seattle police...
Associated Press

Name of Seattle officer in crash that killed woman released

Police have released the name of a Seattle police officer who was responding to a medical call when his patrol SUV hit and killed a 23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula last week in a city crosswalk.
19 hours ago
Las Vegas police work near the home of former actor Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, who goes by Natha...
Associated Press

Police arrest actor, raid his Nevada home in sex abuse probe

NORTH LAS VEGAS (AP) — Las Vegas police on Tuesday arrested and raided the home of a former actor turned alleged cult leader accused of sexually assaulting young indigenous girls during a period spanning two decades, according to police records obtained by The Associated Press. Nathan Lee Chasing His Horse, who goes by Nathan Chasing […]
19 hours ago
FILE - Bamm Gibson and the New Orleans Hot Jazz perform on the first day of the annual French Quart...
Associated Press

French Quarter Festival unveils lineup for 40th anniversary

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Organizers on Tuesday announced a lineup of more than 270 acts for New Orleans’ 40th annual French Quarter Festival, billed as Louisiana’s largest free showcase of music, food and culture. Artists scheduled to perform at the April 13-16 event include Irma Thomas, Ani DiFranco, Tank and the Bangas, blues guitarist Samantha […]
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Newcomer wins seat on Louisiana Public Service Commission