Louisiana Republican Senator Sharon Hewitt is running for governor
Republican Slidell state Sen. Sharon Hewitt has joined the 2023 Louisiana governor's race, the only woman in the campaign so far.
Hewitt made her announcement official Friday morning in a video to supporters and donors.
"I believe I have a unique set of skills that have prepared me for this role as a business person, community leader, legislator, wife, mother and grandmother," said Hewitt, who is serving her second term in the Louisiana Senate, in an interview with USA Today Network.
Hewitt joins early front-runner GOP Attorney General Jeff Landry and Republican Treasurer John Schroder as the major candidates in the race.
Two Republican heavyweights, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy and Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, opted out of the race during the past week. Republican U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy opted out late in 2022.
Hewitt, 64, an engineer and former Shell executive, is chair of the Senate Republican Caucus and chair of the Senate and Governmental Affairs Committee, which shaped the state's 10-year redrawing of political boundaries last year.
Among her platform priorities are economic development, education and crime prevention, she said.
"We have a huge problem with out-migration," said Hewitt, who said she and her husband Stan have experienced the issue first-hand with both of their grown sons leaving Louisiana to follow their careers. "We have to turn this around. It's a death spiral."
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is term-limited and can't run for a third consecutive term.
Lake Charles Independent Hunter Lundy has officially announced his candidacy.
Among the others considering the race: Republican Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves; Republican Mandeville state Rep. Richard Nelson; Republican West Feliciana Parish President Kenny Havard; and Democrat Shawn Wilson, Edwards' secretary of transportation.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.