At its meeting last night, the Lafayette Parish Democratic Executive Committee passed what could be known as the Armentor resolution. It states that committee members shall not engage in public support or fund-raising activities for non-Democratic candidates in their capacity as committee members. “This is a guiding principle on how we expect each other to behave and represent the party,” says committee Chairman John Bernhardt. The resolution, effective Jan. 1, 2009, has no penalties attached to it in the event a member violates the new rule. Bernhardt says committee members, who are elected, will always have to answer to voters. The measure passed by a vote of 8 to 1. Vice Chairman Susannah Malbreaux voted against the measure. Member Mike Stagg, who had previously called for Armentor’s resignation, abstained, and four other members were absent from the meeting.
The resolution was brought in response to committee member Glenn Armentor hosting a fund-raiser for Republican City-Parish President Joey Durel. Armentor first hosted his “No Party Party” fund-raiser for Durel two years ago. This year, he brought back the event, which is scheduled for tomorrow night. Armentor told The Independent that he believes Durel is a bipartisan leader and has promoted issues that the Democratic Party supports, such as the fiber-to-the-home initiative. Nevertheless, Armentor’s fund-raiser for Durel drew the ire of some of his fellow committee members, prompting calls for his resignation and censure.
Bernhardt says that while he was not in favor of the No Party Party, he was also not in favor of any type of punishment. “We’re about being inclusive and bringing people in and not kicking people out,” he says. Bernhardt adds he hopes to work with Armentor to make No Party Party an annual benefit for charity and not for any one political candidate.