"I first ran for elected office four years ago to help people, solve problems and make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.
I didn't enter public service at the request of political parties, insiders, deal makers or pundits. In fact, most of those people were uncomfortable with my candidacy then - and they still are today.
As a member of the Louisiana Senate I have held true to my convictions and worked to represent people, not special interests nor a political party. I have worked to build bi-partisan coalitions that have reformed our antiquated levee board system, controlled the growth of the state retirement system and reformed the way we do business in our ports and along the Mississippi River.
As a candidate for Governor, I have been listening to you and working to spread our message of change and reform throughout the state. The political deal makers have run this state for too long at the expense of so many of our people who need affordable healthcare, quality education and the opportunity to secure a good paying job. I will not be silenced by the status quo or by those unwilling to embrace a new direction for our state.
The challenges are too large and we have no time to waste.
Therefore, today I have rejoined the Democratic Party because I believe that running as a Democrat will give me the best opportunity to push an agenda for change and reform. The people of Louisiana, regardless of party affiliation, are in search of a leader, and are eager to stand side by side with someone willing to challenge the establishment and reform our state.
As the son of a retired school teacher and disabled union electrician, I started a company with $175 in my pocket with the goal of fulfilling the American dream. Today my company employs over 500 workers. As Governor, I will create those same opportunities for all of our citizens.
The destructive winds and devastating water of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita didn't check party registration before doing their damage and we can't let politics get in the way of rebuilding, creating jobs and providing relief for Louisiana families.
As we begin this new phase in our campaign, I will continue to focus on solving problems instead of just talking about them. We will outline a plan to create jobs, make healthcare more affordable and accessible, improve education opportunities for every child in Louisiana and make insurance available to every Louisiana family.
We will aggressively work to rebuild our state from the destruction caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Louisiana is at a period of rebirth. A renaissance. A new beginning. And like anything at a crossroads, Louisiana needs vision, leadership and a good sense of direction.