What's next for the Senate president? – Shreveport Times


With term limits on the horizon and his final regular session less than a year away, Senate President Page Cortez is pondering his next political move. Friends and longtime supporters are convinced that might include a run for lieutenant governor in 2023. 
“That’s the only statewide office I have ever contemplated,” the Senate president said. “I enjoy the history and culture of Louisiana. I’m a former history teacher. I speak a little French. I’ve also seen both the economic side of that office, and what’s required to run it through working on the budget.”
But would Cortez, a Republican from Lafayette, actually run for lieutenant governor?
“For those who have encouraged me to run, I’ve always been quick to respond with a reminder that the speaker has suggested he may be running for it,” said Cortez, adding, “I’m still thinking through some things, and thinking about running for another office means getting your family’s support, too. So we’re having discussions about that. We haven’t made any decisions. I think sometimes you have to wait and weigh different factors. We’re still pretty far out.”
As for a timeline, Cortez said he wanted to get through the rest of the regular session and continue to meet with family and friends this summer.
Asked if he would ever run against Schexnayder, Cortez said, “That would weigh heavily on me. The two of us have had such a good relationship. We still have another year left and there’s a lot we want to get done together.” 
Schexnayder has made unmissable moves lately when it comes to the office. The speaker for example, has pushed proposals during the ongoing session to increase funding for the lieutenant governors office and to give it control of the Capitol complex.
Cortez, meanwhile, has a quieter approach to governance. He originally arrived at the Capitol in 2008 as a state representative. At the time, Cortez had built a name for himself back home as a coach and an educator. With his wife, he also ran a successful furniture business.
One term in the House was enough for Cortez, though, and he upgraded to a Senate seat in 2012, replacing former Sen. Mike Michot. In the Senate, Cortez carved out a policy niche for himself on transportation, eventually taking the chairmanship before positioning himself as president. The past year has seen Cortez dipping back into his old policy bag and grabbing headlines for legislation to control speeding and enhance related fines on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge.
The president has also enjoyed a successful term on the fundraising front. He has $435,000 in his campaign war chest and another $70,000 in his Acadiana Strong PAC. (In comparison, Schexnayder has $355,000 is his account and $141,000 in his leadership PAC.)
Of course, if anyone wants to run for lieutenant governor next year, incumbent Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser will have to step aside — and Nungesser is expected to do just that in 2023 when he runs for governor.
Others eyeing the lieutenant governor’s race include Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle, state Rep. Ray Garofalo of Chalmette, former state Sen. Elbert Guillory of Opelousas, television host Gary Rispone and Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Jennifer Van Vrancken.
Come next year, the race for lieutenant governor may be the most crowded election on the statewide ballot. And why not? The job, after all, is a glorified marketing position, culture is on the daily to-do list and the gig is just one step away from the state’s premier elected post. (In the Constitutional line of succession, lieutenant governor is right underneath governor).
Then again, a great deal could still change in this race, especially with qualifying roughly 13 months away.



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