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
American companies export smog; UN calls for cease-fire in Gaza; fist bump keeps germ transfer down and more national and international news for Monday, July 28, 2014.
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Louisiana has joined nine other states in support of Indiana’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling that the Hoosier State’s ban on sam-sex marriage violates the Constitution.
The Saints are being cautious in an effort to minimize risk of re-injury.
LSU Health Sciences Center says people with a common, hard-to-treat kind of lung cancer can join a new national trial to test drugs faster.
As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.
The family of fallen cyclist Lon Lomas is speaking out after the release this week of the man charged with his death.
"The solutions are obvious: undo consolidation, or amend the charter to make this hybrid attempt at a new form of government work better."
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education is considering whether to get involved in a lawsuit against Gov. Bobby Jindal for his attempts to undermine use of the Common Core education standards in Louisiana's public schools.
The latest meeting of a south Louisiana flood board that stirred political turmoil with a lawsuit against the oil and gas industry is taking place amid uncertainty over the future of the lawsuit — and the board's own membership.
The photos taken nearly a mile under the Gulf of Mexico are so clear that small holes are visible in a lifeboat that may have gone down or been scuttled when a passenger ship was sunk by a Nazi submarine in 1942.
Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.
"I feel like I'm under siege," an attorney said recently over drinks at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. "We all do. Every time I turn around somebody wants a check. District attorney races. The judges. They're killing us."
As a requirement for running for Congress in the 6th District, former Gov. Edwin Edwards has filed his financial disclosure statement with the U.S. House showing his income in 2013 totaling $242,787.
Unlike those swindled by Bernie Madoff, the victims of Texas businessman Robert Allen Stanford’s Ponzi scheme won’t be getting any relief from the Securities Investor Protection Corp.’s emergency fund after a recent appellate court ruling.
The legal challenge is part of a continuing struggle over Common Core, which has become controversial since the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted the standards in 2010.
The lone Democrat to announce he's running for governor, state Rep. John Bel Edwards, criticized Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's budgeting tactics as "running the state like a big Ponzi scheme."