Raised in Baton Rouge, Belinda is a lifelong advocate for public schools, having graduated Baton Rouge Magnet High. Belinda furthered her education by earning her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Mississippi, and her M.S. and Ph.D. from Florida State University.
After graduating, Belinda committed herself to studying public policy by evaluating policy effectiveness and efficiency for organizations such as the Rockefeller Institute of Government and the states of Louisiana and Florida, including reports on whether or not tax dollars being spent were producing the results taxpayers were paying for. Since 2005, Belinda has taught political science at Louisiana State University–where she’s served as an Associate Professor as well as Deputy Director of the Public Policy Research Lab since 2012.
Davis is married to local attorney Daniel Davis. Together, they have three boys who attend school in the East Baton Rouge Parish School System—the same school system Belinda graduated from. Belinda and her family are members of The Chapel, a non-denominational church located on LSU’s campus.
For over a decade, Belinda has tirelessly advocated for nonpartisan, commonsense policies to give the children of Louisiana an opportunity to succeed. Unfortunately, career politicians have prioritized political gamesmanship over the future of Louisiana—that’s why Belinda is running for State Representative.
The disastrous funding cuts under Jindal need to be reversed. The situation is particularly dire for early childhood, preK, and K-12. Research shows there is an enormous return on investment for dollars spent in early childhood and preK. The last session made a small investment in preK, but more resources are needed. For the average working parent in a minimum wage job with a child under five, the first two to three hours of their pay go to childcare costs. It’s not surprising that women across our state are turning down full time employment and foregoing promotions. In addition, problems with childcare cost employers money and cost state and local government lost tax revenue. In addition, K12 teacher salaries need to be brought up to the southern average and school districts need additional funds. Higher ed has responded to cuts by passing the costs on to families and by cutting staff and programs. Surplus funds should be spent on education in these areas whenever possible.
Sales taxes are a regressive tax. They disproportionately affect low income families because low income families end up spending a greater share of their income on taxes than upper income families. I would embrace the tax plan reforms that were proposed by a 2017 bipartisan commission that was tasked with the job of reforming our tax code. For too long, our politicians have had the practice of asking experts in the field from both sides of the political spectrum to come up with a plan to fix the state’s tax system. The experts do what the legislature asks them to do. Unfortunately, the legislature bows to the pressure of special interests and ignores the experts. It’s time to elect someone with the political will to do what’s right for the state, not special interests.
I would support the multi-state effort by Gulf Coast states to procure a greater share of the revenue from off shore energy production. Those dollars should be dedicated to coastal restoration and climate change needs. In addition, the state should incentivize investments in clean energy. We also need to leverage federal dollars to address these needs. The entire country depends on the Port of New Orleans. The State of Louisiana should not bear the cost of keeping our coast alive when the entire well being of the country depends on keeping New Orleans and our coastal industries above water.
The state needs a comprehensive plan to deal with the economic and infrastructure needs of small towns. The declining populations and revenues of these towns leave them vulnerable to health risks due to aging water systems and state takeover due to their financial instability. Governor Edwards has been proactive in staving off a Flint water crisis in our state. However, we have numerous towns that are facing an emergency takeover by the State. We need a plan that does not rely on emergency managers taking over small towns. These managers dilute democratic control. Federal and state investment in small towns is crucial and often small towns lack the staff and administrative infrastructure to seek and get available grant dollars. More and better assistance to local governments of all sizes should be made available so that we can leverage every opportunity to bring federal and state tax dollars closest to the people who pay them.