(Harahan, LA) Forest Wright today challenged his opponent, LPSC Chairman Eric Skrmetta, to a public debate after curious last minute changes were made in a public forum last night.
“Earlier in the day on Thursday, our campaign confirmed the format for the Crimefighters debate last night. But right when Skrmetta would have been forced to publicly defend his terrible record at the LPSC, the Chairman scurried out the door,” Wright said. “He can run but he can’t hide.”
The debate for the Louisiana Public Service Commission candidates was set last night for the Harahan Senior Center. Earlier in the day, Wright’s campaign confirmed that he and Skrmetta would be questioned in a debate format. But something changed.
“Did Crimefighters just decide at the last minute to change the format or did Skrmetta put pressure on the organization to modify the terms of the debate?” Wright asked. “I don’t know the answer to that question but I do know that Skrmetta’s corruption takes many forms. He openly takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from the big utility companies he regulates at the LPSC. I wonder if his willingness to corrupt the process extends to pressuring citizens groups to allow him to avoid direct questions about his dismal record.”
Wright is running against Skrmetta in the District 1 LPSC race and refuses to accept money from the big utility companies regulated by the agency.
“I challenge Eric Skrmetta to face me in a free and open debate so that the media and the public can hear him defend his record,” Wright said. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant and Skrmetta’s record should be vetted in the bright light that can only be provided by a debate.”
“It was rather comical to see Skrmetta scurry out the door last night,” Wright said. “Skrmetta’s unethical behavior can only flourish far from the light of public debate and accountability. I have faith in the system. I believe the media or some appropriate citizens group will make it possible for us to have a series of debates.”
Wright added, “I’m willing to shine a light in the dark places to bring Eric Skrmetta’s unethical behavior at the LPSC into sharp focus.”
Wright said Skrmetta should explain:
His acceptance of improper and unethical campaign contributions
Facilitating pay-to-play politics for consulting contracts at the LPSC
Attempting to cut backroom deals for companies who violate the law
Authorizing a $200 million utility bailout for the Little Gypsy Power Plant boondoggle, and stating he would have continued to fund the doomed project
Protecting utility profits by attempting to block energy efficiency programs and restricting individuals’ rights to generate energy for personal consumption with solar net metering
Making misleading and untruthful statements about his record and what the public pays on their utility bills
“Any time. Any place. I will face Eric Skrmetta in a free and open debate and I will hold him to account for his behavior,” Wright said.
Forest Wright has built a career as a policy expert and small business owner. Known as a champion for emerging industry and a fierce protector of consumer rights, Forest has worked on the front lines to bring more options and lower costs to Louisiana’s working families and businesses.
Among his many career successes, Forest Wright has launched workforce development training and incentive programs that reward customers for saving energy to reduce their monthly utility bills and promote economic growth. Wright holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Tulane University, where he met his wife Julia.