VOTER EDUCATION GUIDE – DIST. 93

FOR NEW ORLEANS ELECTION: SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2023

This voter education guide is published primarily as a resource and does not constitute an endorsement of any candidate or proposition by ANTIGRAVITY Magazine.


Welcome once again to your ANTIGRAVITY voter education guide for the February 18 election.

We have published these guides since 2014—previously in collaboration with the New Orleans Harm Reduction Network and now under the ANTIGRAVITY banner. We utilized national media, local media, and social media. Our research included but was not limited to public records, campaign finance reports, court filings, and real estate records.

Despite lacking faith in politicians or the political order, we create this document as a way to dissect and map power. We do not offer endorsements, but we do provide summaries, as this is a resource designed to aid and alleviate the work for you, dear reader. News relevant to this ballot will continue to break. We are but one resource, and we hope that you consult as many as possible before heading to the polls.


We suggest you bring a photo ID to the polls, but if you do not have one you can still cast a ballot by signing a voter affidavit, which vouches for your identity.

If you have a disability, you are entitled to receive assistance to cast your vote. If your assigned polling place is not accessible, you can vote at the nearest polling place with the same ballot or at the Registrar of Voters Office.

The makeup of this ballot, including names of candidates and information about how, where, and when to register and vote is based on information provided by the Louisiana Secretary of State and the City of New Orleans website. For info on what your ballot looks like, as well as information about disability and voting, go to the SoS website, voterportal.sos.la.gov.


Louisiana House of Representatives
District 93

Seth Bloom (Democrat) – WITHDREW
Morgan Clevenger (Democrat)
Matthew M. Hill (Republican)
Steven Kennedy (Democrat)
Alonzo Knox (Democrat)
Sibil “Fox” Richardson (Democrat)
“Naj” Wallace (Democrat)

The Louisiana House of Representatives consists of 105 members, and candidates are elected to four-year terms. Their duties include “consideration of proposed laws and resolutions, consideration of proposed constitutional amendments for submission to the voters, and appropriation of all funds for the operation of state government.” Louisiana House of Representatives District 93, which includes parts of the CBD, French Quarter, Lower Garden District, Central City, and 7th Ward, is up for grabs after Royce Duplessis was elected to the state Senate.

Morgan Clevenger is president of the Fairgrounds Triangle Neighborhood Association and sits on her local Police Community Advisory Board. In a recent WWL radio appearance, she emphasized her New Orleans roots. Her parents were involved in founding a number of well-known New Orleans bars and restaurants, including Upperline and The Abbey.

Clevenger’s neighborhood organizing has often revolved around crime. That’s included lobbying to stop alcohol sales at a corner store that was seen as a hub of criminal activity and pushing for off-duty police patrols funded by the Fair Grounds Race Course.

She’s also spoken out about rising real estate prices leading to higher property taxes, a hardship for many New Orleans residents (including renters whose landlords raise rents to cover taxes). Others have pointed out the role of short-term rentals in raising housing costs: Clevenger has operated a short-term rental, describing a potential overhaul to current STR rules as “really frightening” (and her campaign committee Venmo is associated with a “nolarentals” Hotmail address), though she’s argued there’s a difference between big-time commercial operators and “mom and pop” rentals.

Summary: Morgan Clevenger, president of the Fairgrounds Triangle Neighborhood Association, has a big focus on crime and has owned a short-term rental.

Matthew Hill is a restaurateur, executive coach, and “management specialist.” Hill had two past candidacies for mayor in 2017 and 2021 that both fell through. This time, he’s running as the only Republican in the race, having been an independent and non-party candidate in the past.

His run for House representative lacks substantial campaigning, so the information we have is based on his prior runs for mayor. According to his biography he shared with Ballotpedia, he offers “High Performance Government,” based on principles of Lean Six Sigma, an improvement process framework commonly implemented by project managers and engineers. He wrote a book called Superhero Leadership, in which he uses comic book heroes as case studies for leadership qualities and practices. Hill claims to have “comprehensive understanding of the system,” even though his ideas for change management do not specify concrete actions to make the broad improvements he hopes to achieve.

Summary: Matthew Hill, the only Republican running, does not have a campaign presence for this election.

Steven Kennedy is the president of REO, LLC, “a real estate development, urban planning and policy consulting company.” He has a background in urban planning, receiving a degree in it from the University of New Orleans. His campaign website says that he has spent the “last 15 years working to improve communities through [his] work as an affordable housing developer,” and Mayor LaToya Cantrell posted pictures in 2019 of the first housing unit he and his company developed with funds from the City.

In 2022, Kennedy wrote a letter to Louisiana legislators during the redistricting period asking them to give more legislative power to Black constituents. He wrote, “Here in Louisiana where a third of the population is African American as noted in the census data, there still isn’t adequate legislative representation of people of color in the U.S. Congress for Louisiana because of previously drawn legislative maps.”

As a state representative, he says he’ll “work to pass a state low income housing tax credit bill to incentives [sic] the additional development of affordable housing in our district” as well as “a state new markets tax credit” for small businesses. His campaign slogan is “Serving Your Interest!!!” and his main focus appears to be housing.

Kennedy has a prior domestic violence conviction, which he confirmed to WDSU.

Summary: Steven Kennedy, president of a real estate development company that helps develop low-income housing, prioritizes housing in his campaign material but does have a previous conviction for domestic violence.

Alonzo Knox might be best known as the owner, with his wife Jessica, of Backatown Coffee Parlour in the Treme near Armstrong Park. He has served in the Marine Corps, worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs and at the State Capitol, and also ran unsuccessfully for the District C Seat in the City Council in 2021. He’s served on the Historic District Landmarks Commission and been involved in the push to make the Municipal Auditorium a cultural center, not a new City Hall.

Knox says he plans to “address public safety” and on “addressing the root causes of crime, to combat homelessness, to provide more resources for mental health needs, to help families improve educational and economic opportunities and of course address our deteriorating infrastructure.”

Knox has worked for the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation, a nonprofit that uses individual and corporate donations to support the NOPD.

“I will forever remember 9-11,” he wrote on Facebook on Sept. 11, 2021, honoring first responders who worked during the attacks. “I worked at West 57th Street and 5th Avenue which was just a few blocks from the Twin Towers.”

It’s an unusual use of “a few blocks”: West 57th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan is about four miles from the World Trade Center site; for comparison’s sake, that’s a bit further than the distance from Knox’s Backatown Coffee to Metairie Cemetery.

Knox isn’t an unquestioning supporter of the police, though: During his run for City Council, he indicated in an ANTIGRAVITY candidate survey that he believed “Black communities are over policed” and said he opposed marijuana arrests and would be open to exploring the decriminalization of other drugs.

Summary: Alonzo Knox, owner of Backatown Coffee Parlour, has been involved in the fight to turn the Municipal Auditorium into a cultural center, and while not blindly supportive to the police, he does seem ultimately sympathetic to them.

Sibil “Fox” Richardson, also known as “Fox Rich,” is a minister, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and prison abolitionist. She’s well-known for advocating on behalf of those unjustly incarcerated, particularly petitioning for clemency for her husband, Robert, told in the Academy Award-nominated 2020 Sundance-screened documentary Time. Since her husband’s release in 2018, Richardson has continued advocating against carceral injustice, founding the Participatory Defense Movement New Orleans to empower families and individuals with legal savvy and to advance reforms of the criminal legal system. According to the PDMNO, the group has “saved” over 3,000 years of excessive prison sentences.

Richardson’s campaign focuses on “reinvesting in our families,” particularly garnering resources for youth and single-parent mothers. Her focus areas include public safety, quality education, housing reform, women’s rights, and “an economy that works for everyone,” one with fair pay for women and economic opportunities. In a 2020 ANTIGRAVITY interview, Richardson criticized Governor John Bel Edwards for his sparse use of clemency to pardon those who were unjustly imprisoned, particularly Gloria Williams, known as “Mama Glo,” who was successfully released after 50 years in prison and the subject of the interview.

“When you consider the amount of vetting that transpires before someone can even go up for a pardon, it is a disservice to taxpayers to think that we are spending money and resources to do all of this vetting and to receive this recommendation from people the governor has appointed; and yet the governor still fails to act upon all the work that has been done and presented to him,” Richardson said.

Richardson formerly owned a car dealership and a production company, but in spite of having no prior political experience, she seems intent on letting her experience fuel her candidacy. If elected, she would be the first formerly incarcerated Black woman in the Louisiana legislature.

Summary: Sibil “Fox” Richardson, a formerly incarcerated woman who publicly fought for her husband’s release, is a prison abolitionist who seems intent on allowing her experiences with the carceral system to shape her path in the legislature.

Tenaj “Naj” Wallace is a New Orleans native with a degree in sociology from ULL. She is an actor as well as a masseuse. Her business, BodyWerk by Naj, is run out of Wallace’s home in the 7th Ward, and “$5 from every massage” is put toward filling the 7th Ward Triangle community fridge, which Wallace started and helps maintain. BodyWerk by Naj is currently not in good standing with the Louisiana Secretary of State for failing to file its annual report.

Wallace’s campaign website lists “safety,” “housing,” and “economy” as the main tenets of her platform. She acknowledges that “crime is a direct result of wealth inequality,” but also vows to “work with our local law enforcment [sic] to create better solutions for issues they face daily which will keep both citizens and our officers more safe.” Her platform doesn’t offer deep insight into specific policy or strategy she’d undertake if elected.

Summary: Tenaj “Naj” Wallace, an actor and masseuse, has started and helped maintain a community fridge and lists “safety,” “housing,” and “economy” as the main tenets of her campaign, but they don’t have much detail.


ELECTION INFO

voterportal.sos.la.gov

The deadline to request a mail ballot is February 14 by 4:30 p.m (other than military and overseas voters).

The deadline for the registrar of voters to receive a mail ballot is February 17 by 4:30 p.m. (other than military and overseas voters).

Early voting for this election begins on February 4 and ends on February 11 (excluding Sunday, February 5), from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturday election voting hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


EARLY VOTING

Click here for more info on early voting

City Hall
1300 Perdido Street 70112
Room 1W24

Algiers Courthouse
225 Morgan Street 70114
Room 105

Chef Menteur Voting Machine Warehouse Site
8870 Chef Menteur Highway 70127

Lake Vista Community Center
6500 Spanish Fort Blvd. 70124
2nd Floor Meeting Room


NEXT ELECTION

Saturday, March 25, 2023


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This voter education guide is published primarily as a resource and does not constitute an endorsement of any candidate or proposition by ANTIGRAVITY Magazine.