In a lesser-followed race in 2023, the race for Louisiana Attorney General is not crowded but has fielded a few state officials already playing big roles in Baton Rouge.
One of those, John Stefanski, 38, of Crowley, currently serves as a Republican state representative for District 42, which includes Acadia and Lafayette Parishes.
SECOND TERM STATE REPRESENTATIVE
While only in his second term, Stefanski has already taken on a leadership role in House and Governmental Affairs Committee, spearheading the redistricting effort in the 2022 Special Session.
In his legislative career, he has put forward bills targeting education and infrastructure improvements, as well as supported efforts focused on pro-law enforcement and pro-family policies.
“I’ve been lucky. I’ve been able to work with all of my colleagues, regardless of party and gender and race,” said Stefanski. “I’ve been able to establish those connections and build friendships, and I think that’s enabled me to really have a lot of success in the body in a short period of time.”
Stefanski credits his work ethic and that he “ran for the right reasons” as enabling him to gain trust and be successful as a state legislator.
Now, he’s looking to continue to serve, this time in a larger role.
“CALLING TO SERVE”
Stefanski said the choice to run for Attorney General is a continuation of a desire to represent and support his community. As an attorney running a small law firm in Crowley, Stefanski said the firm handles several types of cases, putting him in the best position to run for an office that sees the same variety of cases from the local, state and federal level, as well as in the civil realm.
“I was told at a young age politics is a lot about timing, and it’s an open seat for that race. And I know I can do the job. I know I have the legal background,” explained Stefanski.
“ALL HANDS ON DECK APPROACH” TO CRIME
It would be difficult to find a candidate in the race for any political office in 2023 not pitching solutions to violent crime as a way to move the state forward. While the role of AG deals primarily with civil cases, Stefanski sees the office as needing to take on a bigger role in getting a handle on violent crime.
“Violent crime is a tremendous issue throughout this state. Obviously, it gets highlighted in our major cities more so than anywhere else,” said Stefanski. “It’s become such a problem, it’s affecting not only our quality of life, it’s affecting families, it’s affecting tourism, it’s affecting everything. So, in my opinion, we need to have an all-hands-on-deck approach.”
Stefanski wants to see every branch of the government taking on a role in solving the crime problem and using its resources to do that. As AG, he wants to be able to support local law enforcement and district attorneys, provide them with the resources to effectively prosecute and provide expertise for attorneys prosecuting those cases.
”If it means that we need to take a more aggressive approach in that office, and even get more into the weeds on a local level, I’m ready and willing to do that,” explained Stefanski. “Additionally, I believe I have the relationships in the legislature to be able to change some laws if we need to change them, as well, or even going out and potentially changing the constitution. I think it’s that serious of a problem in this state. And as attorney general, I’m gonna take that very seriously.”
As a legislator, Stefanski points to the need for consequences on the books for offenders who are convicted of violent crimes and contribute to the fentanyl epidemic.
In the upcoming legislative session, Stefanski has already filed legislation, HB90, looking to further combat the fentanyl epidemic and increase penalties for distribution or possession with intent to distribute the drug.