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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s campaign team has spoken out following an effort to organize a recall election that was announced last week.

On Tuesday, Team LaToya Cantrell spokesperson Maggie Carroll released a statement on the recall petition, calling the effort a “Republican-backed maneuver by people with an agenda” and that it “fits into a long history of taking away our vote and voice.”

Also according to the statement, a conservative firm in Washington D.C. has joined in to help lead the effort, suggesting that it’s the reason why Republicans in New Orleans are reportedly encouraging people to sign the document. Read Team LaToya Cantrell’s full statement below.

The recall petition, announced on Friday by former mayoral candidate Belden Batiste and ex-city employee Eileen Carter, came after citizen complaints of the mayor’s decision to travel first-class to France amid a surge in crime, along with appearing in court to support a 13-year-old convicted carjacker at his sentencing.

If organizers receive handwritten signatures from 20% of New Orleans’ voting population (about 53,000 people), the document will then go to the desk of Governor Edwards for approval. From there a recall election is ordered.

Full Statement: Team LaToya Cantrell issues statement on recall effort

“The recall effort to undermine and discredit the first Black woman Mayor of New Orleans is quickly being exposed as a Republican-backed maneuver by people with an agenda,” said Maggie Carroll, campaign spokesperson for Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “It fits into a long history of taking away our vote and our voice. That’s why we have reason to believe a conservative DC firm has signed on to lead the effort. That’s why many GOP organizations in the city are encouraging people to sign the petition. That’s why Fox News is leading the propaganda charge.”

“Mayor Cantrell makes mistakes like every God-fearing person. But we can’t forget that she led us courageously through the pandemic and Hurricane Ida. We can’t forget her historic investments in streets, drainage, parks, and early childhood education. She also raised our city’s bond rating, making it easier to fund vital services, including public safety. When it comes to travel, she has been on the road to recover lost revenue by marketing New Orleans to the world. That’s fundamental to the work of any big city mayor.”

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“Crime is deeply personal to the mayor. She has an altar in her office where she prays over funeral programs of gun violence victims. She has embedded herself at NOPD roll calls to get a strong grasp of department needs. And she is fighting to end the federal consent decree which hurts recruitment, prevents them from chasing criminals, and buries them in burdensome and unnecessary paperwork.”

“Ultimately it will take all of us – the entire New Orleans criminal justice system, state and federal officials, local business owners, everyday residents, all working together – to end the epidemic of crime we are facing. Every major U.S. city is struggling with this issue following the pandemic. Courts were closed, social services ended, and people were financially stressed.”

“Mayor Cantrell hears your concerns and will continue to work tirelessly to address them. Let’s not let this Republican campaign undo our vote and distract our leaders from the real work that needs to get done.” 

“The people of our city elected Mayor Cantrell twice – by large margins. And when she succeeds, New Orleans succeeds. Let’s help her continue to do that.”