It’s positively the most daring campaign video we’ve ever seen. Louisiana Senate candidate Gary Chambers dressed in suit and tie, sitting in an armchair, in the middle of a field, lighting up and smoking a big ol’ blunt. Attention-getting? Yes. Gone viral? Of course. A gimmick? Not at all with Chambers’ background.
Well-known in Louisiana political circles, Chambers is an entrepreneur and social justice advocate from Baton Rouge with a strong history of speaking out against inequities. He ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Louisiana’s 2021 Special Election but lost, and is now seeking a U. S. Senate seat because as he says, “Louisiana continues to be ranked last in the nation. That is more a reflection of our leaders than our people.”
Chambers quotes statistics from the American Civil Liberties Union in the video. As he says, “Every 37 seconds someone is arrested for marijuana. Since 2010, state and local police have arrested an estimated 7.3 million Americans for violating marijuana laws — over half of all drug arrests. Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana laws than white people. States waste $3.7 billion enforcing marijuana laws every year. Most of the people police are arresting aren’t’ dealers, but rather people with small amounts of pot, just like me.”
So far Chambers’ video has garnered over 5 million views on Twitter, and over 1 million on Instagram. As he writes on Twitter, “I hope this ad works to not only destigmatize the use of marijuana, but also forces a new conversation that creates the pathway to legalize this beneficial drug, and forgive those who were arrested due to outdated ideology.”
Chambers also says that “in Louisiana, a state that is 34% Black, we should see our reflection in the leadership of this state. It has been 149 years since a Black man served in statewide office in Louisiana. P.B.S. Pinchback served as governor of Louisiana from December 9, 1872, to January 13, 1873, he was elected Lt. Gov & served after the Governor was removed from office. Let’s not wait another 100 years before another Black person is elected statewide in Louisiana.” As to be expected, Chambers is a supporter of both the HOPE Act (Harnessing Opportunities for Pursuing Expungement) and the SAFE Banking Act (Secure and Fair Enforcement). While he faces an uphill battle to unseat his opponent, long-time incumbent Senator John Kennedy, he’s gained some serious name recognition in recent weeks and is certainly talking about issues that are on Louisiana voters’ minds. KannaKnowledge will keep you informed if his candidacy continues to catch fire.