John Settle.jpg

John came to Shreveport in January of 1977 when he was transferred to Barksdale AFB.

He’s been active in Shreveport politics since deciding to make Shreveport his home.

John practiced law for 40 years and he now monitors local politics. He regularly attends Shreveport City Council and Caddo Parish Commission meetings.

John is published weekly in The Inquisitor, bi-monthly in The Forum News, and frequently in the Shreveport Times.

He enjoys addressing civic groups on local government issues and elections.

 

We May Look Back To 2018 Shreveport Mayor's Race As A Game-Changer

The 2018 Shreveport mayor's race broke new ground, probably ensuring that local politics will never be quite the same.
 
In a ‘yarner”, incumbent Mayor Ollie Tyler made a low key announcement in January that she would seek re-election.
 
The campaign season really kicked off by the announcements of Adrian Perkins and Lee O. Savage in April.
 
Perkins, a virtual unknown to any Joe on the street, spoke to a diverse crowd (age and race) at a west Shreveport hotel.
 
Savage, a maverick Republican, addressed a practically all white middle to upper age crowd at the AG building at the state fair.
 
And from that time on, the traditional playbook for a Shreveport mayor’s campaign became obsolete.
 
Eventually two other candidates who had been posturing for the race finally jumped in---Jim Taliaferro and Steven Jackson.
 
And thus the field , for all practical purposes was set: a 73 year old black female Democrat—the incumbent; two white male Republicans—both over 60; and two young, as in not even 35, black male Democrats.
 
In 2014 Tyler was the poster child for electing Shreveport’s first black female mayor.
 
This year the new on that sucker had long faded. The sex of the candidates was a non-issue.
 
The same was true on race.  Shreveport had lived with 11 plus years of a black mayor.
 
Savage served as the barking point dog for the group. He built his campaign on criticizing Tyler and her administration.
 
From day one Tyler’s political challenge was Shreveport crime (real and perceived) and the lack of jobs.
 
And try as hard as she could, she could never shed these campaign anchors.
 
But those were not only problems for the incumbent.
 
All four of the main challengers (there were also 3 minor candidates) were much more visible than Tyler.
 
All four were much more comfortable mingling with the common folk, both one-on-one and in a crowd.
 
True to her personality (and her 2014 race), Tyler preferred the Queen Bee role. She was generally surrounded by her entourage that determined who could address her, and when.
 
Two candidates—Perkins and Steven Jackson—energized a long sleeping political giant. The under 40 crowd gradually warmed up to the notion that “politics” was a necessary evil that deserved their participation.
 
Social media revolutionized communications in this race. All four of the challengers were much more effective than Tyler in utilizing this medium.
 
Change was the common theme in the challenger campaigns.
 
Change in the old way of doing things.
 
Change in the traditional Shreveport power bases.
 
Change in the attitudes toward race and economic parity.
 
Change in the sense of the ‘old” guard versus a “new” guard.
 
And change in the sense of less patience for governmental progress, however voters defined that concept.
 
The campaigns of Perkins and Jackson emphasized youth, energy, excitement and optimism.
 
This was a stark contrast to the “older but wiser” themes of the Tyler, Taliaferro and Savage campaigns.
 
Suffice it to say, political races in Shreveport will never be the same.

(This article was published in The Shreveport Times on Sunday, December 9, 2018)

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