Trey Mustian, a Jefferson Parish-based attorney with Stanga & Mustian representing injured workers, is running for the open Louisiana House of Representatives seat in District 82. Louisiana Comp Blog spoke with Mustian about his campaign and what workers’ comp issues he’d bring to the forefront if elected on October 12th.
Comp Blog: Tell me about your background. Why did you decide to relocate to Louisiana from Kentucky?
Mustian: My parents moved here in 1976 when I was in college, and when it came time to go to law school I applied to a bunch of different places. Tulane was one of them and I got a good offer so I went there. I thought I would move back to Kentucky but I fell in love with New Orleans and I still live here.
Comp Blog: Why did you decide to run for the District 82 seat in Jefferson Parish?
Mustian: I’ve spent a lot of time in the legislature working on comp issues and I really don’t like the atmosphere up there. I think I can build a better atmosphere and I think I’m the kind of person who can reach out to others and get things done. I’m only running for one term and I feel that will give me some independence as well.
Comp Blog: In your mission statement, you are critical of political dynasties in Louisiana are state that if elected you will serve for one four year term only. How does this one-term promise speak to your political philosophy?
Mustian: I’m really hoping to set a small example if I’m successful that will encourage others to do the same. I’ve had a real change of heart about term limits to be honest, I used to think when I was younger that term limits was a bad idea. But the more I’ve seen in Washington and Baton Rouge, the more I’m convinced that they’re a good idea. I think people become too invested in retaining their seats and it ends up guiding what they do, rather than just doing the right thing.
Comp Blog: You mention auto insurance rates and corporate tax loopholes in your mission statement. How would you work to address those issues if you’re elected on October 12th?
Mustian: Car insurance rates have been addressed over many years through tort reform and the proponents of those measures have never been able to promise actual rate reduction. There are some things that I think will. Louisiana allows auto insurers to set rates based on credit history, age, sex, prior coverage and even martial status. All things that have nothing to do with your risk as a driver. The credit history is the really important part. What that ends up doing is contributing to our rate of uninsured motorists because coverage becomes unaffordable. I think we need legislation that controls the use of those factors.
On the corporate tax loopholes, the main thing I’m looking at is the Industrial Tax Exemption Program – ITEP. The purpose of that program is a good one, it’s to create jobs. The property tax exemptions in that program are supposed to be tied to quantifiable proof of job creation. And unfortunately in Louisiana that’s just not occurring. We need to put in measures to make sure that starts occurring. Governor Edwards signed an executive order to give local parishes more say, but we need to codify that. The state is losing about $2 billion in property taxes through ITEP, that’s significant money.
Comp Blog: You have a long history of representing injured workers in Louisiana. How will you bring that experience to the House of Representatives?
Mustian: The experience I’ve had representing injured workers has brought me to the Legislature many times, and over those years I’ve been able to talk to a lot of legislators and I understand how the process works. It’s given me a jump start on all that. If I get elected, I hope to be assigned to the House Labor & Industrial Relations Committee where I can contribute the most and be a voice for workers.
Comp Blog: Do you have any particular workers’ comp issues that you would want to introduce legislation about?
Mustian: There’s still a lot of miscellaneous procedural things that need to be addressed first. I talked to the workers’ comp judges on Friday at a seminar and there’s a problem with the appeal bonds that need to be corrected. And then of course there’s still issues with the Medical Treatment Guidelines that we’ve been talking about for years that need to be done to make the system more user-friendly.
As far as positive legislation is concerned, I would introduce legislation to make the system more user-friendly, that’s what I’m interested in.
Comp Blog: How can people contact you with questions about the issues or your campaign?
Mustian: You can contact me and learn more about my campaign on my website: https://www.treyinthe.house/
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
Image Credit: https://www.treyinthe.house/