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
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.