Jason DeWitt: Running on a call to serve in House District 25
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Jason DeWitt, a local business owner and former first responder for the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, is looking to fill the House District 25 seat in the upcoming fall election.
The seat is soon to be vacated by term-limited Lance Harris, and DeWitt faces a challenge from another local business owner, Trish Leleux.
CALL TO SERVE
The DeWitt family has a generational history of public service in Central Louisiana. DeWitt’s father, Jack DeWitt, served on the Rapides Parish Police Jury and two terms as mayor of Boyce. DeWitt’s son, Hunter, now serves in the Alexandria Fire Department. Now, the legislative-hopeful is responding to his own call to serve two hours away in Baton Rouge, saying public service is in his blood.
“You know I run to the fight, so to speak. You know, I run to the explosion and try to help. I’m not afraid of that,” said DeWitt. “I’m not afraid to go to Baton Rouge and tackle those tough issues because I’m used to having to pull people together, sit down, let’s discuss the issues, and then come up with a compromise that everybody can live with.”
DeWitt said the decision to run is rooted in his desire to leave a legacy for his four grandchildren.
BORN AND RAISED IN CENTRAL LOUISIANA
Though he faces an opponent who has been involved in the community for many years, DeWitt believes having called Central Louisiana home all of his life gives him the upper hand in the race for the seat.
“I have more to benefit from knowing our cultures, knowing the way we feel about our natural resources, the way we feel about our values,” said DeWitt. “I think those things are brought up when you’re raised in an area to reflect the area.”
According to campaign material, DeWitt is a graduate of Northwestern State University, owner of a pest control company for the past 12 years, a member of Rotary, the Senior Citizen Board, the Rapides Finance Authority and the Recreation Board.
ON THE ISSUES
Like many running in the upcoming election, one of DeWitt’s primary focuses is on crime.
“We have a huge crime problem in Louisiana. We have three of our cities that rate in the top 10 per capita for the murder rate, and that’s just not acceptable.”
He said one thing the government should be able to give to people is a sense of safety in their communities.
“That’s a basic need that I think government should provide to its citizens,” said DeWitt.
His background as a small business owner is what is largely informing his second policy priority - tax reform. An idea split among Louisiana legislators, and those pursuing the governor’s seat, DeWitt is a proponent of eliminating the state’s income tax.
“What we have right now is a problem collecting our sales tax,” explained DeWitt. “If we collect all those sales taxes that are owed to us, I think that will subsidize what we would lose on our income tax.”
One solution proposed by lawmakers in recent years has been a Centralized Sales Tax Collection System. It had bi-partisan support, but in 2021, voters shot down a constitutional amendment looking to create the system. Conversations about trying the measure again have continued, especially from the current Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder.
Additionally, DeWitt’s background also informs his stance on insurance reform. In his pest control business, DeWitt said he has experienced 10-15% rate hikes every year and had to find some way to make up for the loss.
“Just like anything else, it’s passed on to consumers, and we’re all consumers,” said DeWitt.
Insurance reform, both automotive and home insurance, will be central to the 2023 Regular Legislative Session, as lawmakers look to tackle rising premiums.
Voters will decide who should fill the House District 25 seat during the primary election on Oct. 14.
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