The following article is being reposted with permission from writer Mary Tutwiler and was published September 10th on The INDsider website, which is part of the Lafayette newspaper The Independent Weekly:
Sheldon Forest, a 50-year-old independent water well driller from Maurice is the only gubernatorial candidate from Acadiana this election cycle. Forest says he has been thinking about running for a decade, and when qualifying opened last week, the time seemed right. "A lightbulb went off in my head," he says. Since Wednesday, Sept. 5, when he threw his name into the hat, he's been saving his money. "I'm not accepting any campaign contributions, I don't belong to any party, I'm running for the people of Louisiana," he says. "I represent the common man."
He says what solidified his resolve to run was the political attack adds running on TV. "Look how these guys are treating each other. That's how they are going to treat us," he says. "They need somebody like me in there, who's going to keep all the state employees in place so we don't have a year of turmoil while new people learn their jobs, and who will take care of the people. I don't owe political favors to anybody."
Forest plans to raise money for hurricane recovery by taxing water usage. "There are so many people on a water meter that a little small tax, you won't even feel it, it will be like a mosquito bite, will add up to billions in no time--forcing water to pay for the damage water caused. I'm an expert on water. It's a new tax base, nobody's ever thought of it." To help out the rice farmers of southwest Louisiana, he says he will institute a state program to promote ethanol made of rice. Ethics, a hot-button issue this year calls for special investigators to check out complaints, one by one. "People have been calling me. I've already got a list started," Forest says. Defending Louisiana's coastline from attack is another point on Forest's agenda. "I plan to put lookout towers and forts along the coast, like it used to be in the old days. Actually, it should be pretty fun to do this." Forest says his heritage and work ethic has given him a natural ability to lead. "Being governor will be easier than digging water wells, that's for sure."
By Mary Tutwiler