DEMOCRATS RECRUITING CRAVINS JR. TO RUN AGAINST BOUSTANY The national Democratic Party is putting the full court press on state Sen. Don Cravins Jr. to challenge incumbent Republican Charles Boustany in the 7th Congressional District. Cravins, who recently expressed interest in possibly switching parties to run against Boustany as an independent, says the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been in close contact with him and offered substantial financial support were he to run as a Democrat. Cravins, along with Democratic African-American state legislators Lydia Jackson of Shreveport and Michael Jackson of Baton Rouge, have considered Congressional runs as independents, partly because of the Democratic Party’s poor track record of supporting black candidates in major state elections and majority white districts. Cravins saw his father receive little party backing for his Congressional run in 2004.
“I’d like to run as a Democrat,” Cravins says. “But right now, I’m more concerned over the decision of whether I’m going to run or not. [The Democratic Party] has been talking to me about things I really wanted to hear the party talk to me about. I’m going to be traveling to D.C. in the next two weeks and I’ll make up my mind very shortly.” Cravins says he has been contacted directly by both DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen and House Majority Whip James Clyburn. While in D.C., Cravins also plans to meet with former Louisiana Senator and 7th District Congressman John Breaux, who also has reached out to him.
The national Democratic Party is currently riding high after three consecutive victories this year in Congressional districts formerly held by Republicans — including Louisiana’s 6th District. “I think they’re just excited about the South,” Cravins says, adding that recent elections seem to show discontent with the current leadership in Washington. “It’s encouraged me that people want change,” he says. “$4 gas is hitting everybody. The war’s having an effect on everybody.”
Among other things, Cravins says he will be talking with Democratic Party leaders about his more conservative positions on social issues. Noting that Boustany signed on early to the presidential campaign of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is pro-choice and pro-gun control, Cravins says, “I think I can out-conservative Boustany.”
LEGISLATORS’ PAY TO TRIPLE?
With an estimated $820 million surplus flowing into state coffers thanks to higher oil prices, Louisiana legislators think it’s an appropriate time for them to get raises. Senate Bill 672 , which would triple the pay of legislators from $16,800 to $50,700, passed through the Senate Finance Committee unopposed. The bill would also double the current annual expense allowance from $6,000 to $12,000. (Lawmakers’ daily per diem of $143 during legislative sessions would stay at its current level.)
The bill now moves to the Senate, where it should spark intense debate — especially since the House Appropriations Committee just stripped $120 million in education and health care spending from the budget.
Besides lawmakers, there’s at least one vocal supporter of the bill. The Advocate reported that Lafayette resident and Baton Rouge uberlobbyist Randy Haynie spoke out on behalf of the pay raises. “I do not believe the public is aware of the hours you put in as public servants,” Haynie told the committee members.
Ah, what altruism and concern from Haynie — the man dubbed “Louisana’s super-lobbyist,” the legislative point man for corporations including AT&T, GE, Pfizer and Philip Morris USA. “Organizations like these understand what’s at stake when their interests come before the Louisiana Legislature,” says Haynie’s Web site. “Time and again, they choose Haynie & Associates to make sure their goals are met.”
Haynie would be a perfect lobbyist for a dairy and bakery company — he knows the importance of buttering both sides of his bread.
WHO GETS CREDIT FOR THE NUCOR MILL MOVE?
The first taker out of the gate last Thursday morning was the Democratic duo of Sen. Mary Landrieu of New Orleans and Congressman Charlie Melancon of Napoleonville. They fired off a media advisory shortly before 9 a.m. announcing that steel-maker Nucor Corporation had applied for a permit in St. James Parish. Their missive touted legislation shepherded by the pair that allows Gulf Coast businesses to take advantage of construction perks.
Roughly an hour later, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal sent out his own “Heads Up” email containing a Nucor press release that quoted the GOP chief as attracting a “facility that can become a national model for responsible manufacturing and economic growth.”
Finally, barely 30 minutes later, a ghost from politics past entered the fray. “In September of 2007, I made a visit to Nucor’s Charleston plant, assuring company officials that I was confident the next administration would continue our commitment to landing a major steel manufacturer,” said Democratic former Gov. Kathleen Blanco in her own release. “This was a major part of our transition negotiations. I am so pleased that the Jindal administration followed through with this goal and that our efforts are moving forward.”
So who deserves credit? The joint release by Landrieu and Melancon may have put it best: “Nucor worked with former Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Gov. Bobby Jindal…” But with the mill is expected to generate 500 permanent jobs paying an average of $75,000 annually, it isn’t surprising to see a bevy of Louisiana politicians wanting a piece of the publicity.
Contributors: Nathan Stubbs, Scott Jordan and Jeremy Alford
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.