Forest Wright, a New Orleans energy policy advocate, has announced his candidacy for theLouisiana Public Service Commission District 1 seat. Wright, a Republican, is challenging Republican Eric Skrmetta, who was elected to the District 1 post in 2008.
Wright, who works as the utility policy director for the Alliance for Affordable Energy, a New Orleans energy policy advocacy group, said in a statement his experience working and testifying on issues before the Public Service Commission uniquely prepares him for the position.
“Working families and businesses are affected by every action of the Louisiana Public Service Commission. This is the body that determines what we pay to keep the lights on,” Wright said. “Louisiana deserves to know that our commissioners have the experience and integrity required to stand up for us in every decision made.”
The Louisiana Public Service Commission monitors a wide range of utilities, including electricity, phone and water services. It is responsible for setting electric and water service rates and setting up programs such as the “Do Not Call” list to shield residents from telemarketers.
The District 1 seat represents 11 parishes, including parts of suburban New Orleans and the north shore.
Wright said he chose to enter the District 1 race after reports surfaced this week accusing Skrmetta of offering to pass a policy favorable to the Louisiana solar industry in exchange for political support. Skrmetta says the claims are false.
Wright previously ran for the Public Service Commission District 2 seat in 2012, losing to Republican Scott Angelle.
Wright, a native of Eugene, Ore., moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University, where he studied sustainable development and tourism. Wright earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Tulane.
In his work with the Alliance for Affordable Energy, he has overseen efforts to expand investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in New Orleans and at the state level and intervened on behalf of consumers in municipal and statewide electric rate setting cases.
Wright lives in New Orleans with his wife, Julia Kumari Drapkin, who is a photographer and multimedia reporter for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.
Voters in suburban New Orleans, the Florida Parishes and the River Parishes will elect the District 1 seat in the general election on Nov. 4.
The above article was written by Jennifer Larino and was published in The Times-Picayune. It can be accessed in its original form by clicking here.