Matt Parker (R), owner of Parker Auto Body, has announced his intention to run for Louisiana State Senate, challenging Jay Morris (R) and incumbent Senator Jim Fannin (R).
“We have a real chance to win this election,” Parker said.
Parker’s bid comes four years after an unsuccessful attempt at running for Louisiana Insurance Commissioner, but Parker notes, “With no money, we still got 150,000 votes” regarding his 2015 race against incumbent Republican Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.
For the current race, Parker will only need to campaign in the six parishes within Senate District 35, compared to campaigning in all of Louisiana’s 64 parishes. As a result, his name is already familiar to many potential constituents through his body shop and advertisements.
In addition to taking issue with high taxes and insurance rates, Parker said that issues he’s noticed include “too many regulations and too many taxes … Louisiana needs to be more business-friendly.”
“My success as a businessman uniquely qualifies me to serve in the Louisiana Senate. We need someone with business experience to return this state to fiscal sanity,” Parker said. “I know how to balance a budget. A state—like a business—can’t spend more than it takes in.”
Parker’s platform places an emphasis on education, jobs and on roads. Parker said there is a need for kids to attend vocational-technical schools since there is a demand for collision repair employees. He’s been working with a local vocational-technical school, but the lack of funding is a challenge, he said. There’s plenty of state funding available; it just needs to be reallocated to the private sector to address educating students, he added.
Parker acknowledges the expense for schools to keep up with the necessary tools needed to train students on vehicle technology. So, he suggests a system where schools teach the basics and shops that already have the necessary equipment to provide the in-depth, hands-on knowledge needed to be successful in the field.
While Parker is “not a government-regulations kind of guy,” he has expressed concerns with lower quality shops being reimbursed at the same level as more qualified shops.