Who is Katie Bernhardt?
It’s important to note that the chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party is elected by party leadership rather than through a public election. As an active member of the Democratic State Central Committee and executive committee for a span of four years, Bernhardt has witnessed the inner workings of the party and developed a unique perspective on its current state. She believes that the existing model of the Louisiana Democratic Party is outdated and requires modernization.
Expressing her vision for the future, Bernhardt emphasized the need for a leader who can bring people together and achieve tangible results—a unifying force within the party. With her reputation for translating words into action and her unwavering commitment to fighting for equity, she believes she is the ideal candidate for the position. Bernhardt’s campaign has garnered support from individuals across Louisiana, transcending diverse backgrounds and walks of life.
While the Louisiana Democratic Party has faced challenges in recent years, experiencing a decline in influence compared to the Republicans in an increasingly conservative state, Bernhardt remains optimistic about the party’s potential. Despite Republicans holding near super majorities in both the state House and Senate, the Democrats still hold the top spot in state government with Governor John Bel Edwards, who is a rarity as the only statewide elected Democrat and the sole Democratic governor in the Deep South.
Away from the political arena, Katie Bernhardt leads a fulfilling personal life. A proud mother of four, she is a graduate of LSU Law School. Together with her husband Ramon John Fonseca Jr., she operates Standard Law, a successful law firm in Lafayette. Balancing her professional endeavors, political aspirations, and family responsibilities, Bernhardt exemplifies a determined and accomplished individual.
As Katie Bernhardt seeks to assume a leadership role within the Louisiana Democratic Party, her multifaceted background, unwavering dedication, and commitment to inclusivity and equity position her as a compelling candidate. With her leadership, she envisions a future where Democrats succeed in elections at various levels, from local positions like dog catcher to higher offices such as the U.S. Senate, representing constituents from Haynesville to Grand Isle. Katie Bernhardt is poised to make a lasting impact within the Louisiana Democratic Party and the broader political landscape.
Katie Bernhardt husband is Ramon John Fonseca.
Louisiana Democratic Party Chair
Families across the nation are growing increasingly concerned about the rising costs of essential items like food and fuel. As a mother of four, I empathize with these worries. Our grocery bills have soared as our economy grapples with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortunately, we are now witnessing strong indications of economic recovery. In October alone, we saw the addition of 531,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6%—the lowest it has been since the pandemic began. However, the most exciting news arrived just last week.
Louisiana Congressman Troy Carter, alongside his Democratic colleagues, successfully passed the most substantial infrastructure bill in over six decades. This remarkable legislation guarantees over $7 billion in funding specifically allocated to Louisiana. These funds will be utilized to enhance our roads, bridges, water infrastructure, public transit, and ports.
Moreover, this bill ensures that every resident of Louisiana has access to affordable broadband services. The substantial investments made in these infrastructure improvements will not only create numerous well-paying jobs but also enhance Louisiana’s competitive edge, attracting more employment opportunities to our state.
Though progress is being made, there is still much work to be done. It is imperative that we overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and revitalize our economy. This task necessitates collaboration between leaders from both sides of the political spectrum. Rather than grandstanding and engaging in political theater, we require practical solutions and decisive action.
The recent discussions surrounding President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda have dominated the political landscape. However, there has been insufficient focus on the content of the bill and its direct implications for the public.
In reality, Build Back Better serves as both a jobs plan and a family-oriented initiative designed to reinvigorate our nation and economy. This targeted investment in American families includes provisions for affordable childcare, expanded access to Pre-K education, reduced healthcare costs, and tax cuts for working-class Americans.
According to Moody’s Analytics, this bill is fully funded by ensuring that large corporations and the super-wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. Importantly, it does not increase taxes for individuals earning less than $400,000 per year.
The plan has received accolades from leading economists, including Nobel Prize laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Stiglitz, along with 60 other economists, penned a letter urging Congress to pass the Build Back Better bill, stating that it will “lower costs on essential expenses for American families” and “address decades of underinvestment in our communities.”
Furthermore, 15 Nobel Prize-winning economists believe that this legislation will help reduce inflation—an issue of paramount importance to families across the country.
Childcare expenses, for instance, can be exorbitant, with the average cost for a toddler exceeding $8,000 per year. Consequently, a typical Louisiana family with two children often spends nearly one-fifth of their income on childcare alone.
Such high costs prevent many parents from reentering the workforce, leading to labor shortages and financial instability for families. President Biden’s plan aims to provide childcare access to over 300,000 Louisiana children and ensures that families do not spend more than 7% of their income on childcare. These savings will enable parents to return to work and alleviate financial burdens associated with transportation and food costs.
Additionally, the bill offers quality Pre-K education to 60,000 Louisiana children between the ages of three and four. Universal Pre-K not only facilitates parents’ reentry into the workforce but also significantly improves test scores, school attendance, and literacy rates throughout our state. This investment in our families and the future promises substantial long-term dividends.
Over the past four months, childhood poverty has been drastically reduced through the expanded Child Tax Credit, championed by President Biden and the Democrats. This tax credit provides Louisiana families with $250 to $300 per month to support their essential needs such as food, utilities, and school supplies during these challenging times.
The Build Back Better agenda continues the fight against childhood poverty by extending this tax credit to the families of over one million children in Louisiana.
The benefits of this comprehensive package extend far beyond childcare and poverty reduction. It also addresses critical issues such as healthcare costs, access to coverage, and climate change.
For instance, the plan lowers healthcare costs for 68,000 Louisianans and expands coverage to an additional 87,000 uninsured individuals within our state. It makes historic investments in mitigating the effects of climate change, particularly the increasingly frequent and severe storms that devastate southern Louisiana. Additionally, it tackles the challenges faced by seniors, reduces housing costs, and makes higher education more affordable.
Unfortunately, Republican Senator John Kennedy has chosen to prioritize partisan politics over the needs of Louisiana families. He voted against the historic infrastructure bill, which would have upgraded our roads, bridges, water systems, ports, and expanded broadband access in rural areas of Louisiana.
Regrettably, Sen. Kennedy has dismissed vital components of the Build Back Better plan, such as child care, Pre-K education, lower healthcare costs, and tax cuts for working families, labeling them as “stupid stuff” and “wasteful spending.” By doing so, he neglects the urgent needs of Louisiana families, favoring D.C. politics and corporate interests instead.
It is evident that the Build Back Better agenda is a substantial investment in American families, including yours and mine, aimed at reducing costs and making life a little easier. The plan is financed by ensuring that corporations and the wealthiest individuals contribute their fair share, and it also works to combat inflation.
When combined with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which creates numerous well-paying jobs, we witness the emergence of an economy that rewards work rather than concentrating wealth. Build Back Better addresses the urgency of this moment and guarantees that we are better equipped to face future crises. It builds a stronger America and Louisiana.
As the chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party, I stand behind these transformative measures that directly benefit our communities. I believe in the power of collaboration, inclusivity, and pragmatic solutions to create a brighter future for all Louisianans. Together, let us support the Build Back Better agenda and ensure a more prosperous and equitable Louisiana for generations to come.
Katie Bernhardt, Chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party