His joy is justified. Redmond's boss has recently enjoyed strong press coverage, including editorials. It was invaluable public relations, with political capital gained. It was the kind of coverage money can't buy. The kind that carries courthouse chatter for weeks. The kind that defines a political campaign before it even starts.
In short, it was Redmond's kind of coverage. He points to an open planner. "We didn't even have to put it on the calendar," he says. "It was completely unexpected."
The watershed moment came earlier this month when reporters asked Gov. Kathleen Blanco how much pork she was planning to cut from the state's $26.7 billion operating budget. Her overly simplistic answer was that Treasurer John Kennedy could drop the ax as well and shoulder some of the burden.
Kennedy didn't miss a beat. A few days before Blanco announced her limited cuts ' $3 million slashed from more than $31 million in pet legislative projects ' Kennedy issued to reporters a multi-million dollar laundry list of items he says he would have eliminated.
But he still doesn't understand why the governor pulled him into the fray, especially since he has no authority over the budget.
"This is a strange business sometimes," Kennedy says. "It was ironic, among other things. I understand the job of a legislator is to bring home the bacon, but that is not the job of a governor. In hindsight, [Blanco] probably regrets doing it."
Kennedy says his office could offer more in the way of fiscal oversight, but Blanco and her staff have chosen to treat him differently than other administrations.
"They could actually talk to me," he says. "They could at least answer my letters."
Indeed, Kennedy has become the critic-du-jour of the governor. He blames the Blanco administration for allowing debt to flourish in recent years, questions the office's recovery efforts and isn't shy about handicapping Blanco's upcoming re-election bid. (Hint: his forecast isn't exactly positive.)
But don't get the wrong idea. Kennedy says he is not interested in running for governor, and he makes the statement unequivocally, without using political jargon.
"I will not be a candidate for governor," Kennedy says.
That might be, but he isn't forsaking politics totally. Redmond tends to handle that side of the coin by filling the dual role of campaign manager. Redmond has held the job since Kennedy's first political contest in 1999 and throughout every other statewide and federal run.
Like it was his own address or phone number, Redmond can easily recite how much money his boss has in the campaign war chest. It's $1.3 million, with very little active fund raising at the moment.
When pressed on the approaching U.S. Senate race, Kennedy isn't as concrete as he was about governor: "I don't think that far out. I'm only focused on being re-elected treasurer right now."
One wrinkle to any upcoming election plans, a curious caveat, is Kennedy's constant criticism of his own Democratic Party. Rumors have run rampant in recent years that Kennedy is being courted by the GOP, and he's embracing more than he's shooing away.
"I'm very lonely," Kennedy says. "I have not been supported in any race I have run in by the Democratic Party in Louisiana. That disappoints me."
But Kennedy refuses to make a commitment on whether he will remain a Democrat for the rest of his life in public service. The likelihood of his switch is only bolstered by the close alliance he holds with U.S. Sen. David Vitter, whom he ran against in 2004.
Kennedy uses an interesting vernacular when describing his powerful Republican "friend" ' courage, brains, reformer. The two have issued joint press releases and even took strong stances together on the spending priorities of the administration.
"You run against someone and you get to know them and they get to know you," Kennedy says. Furthermore, it seems as if Kennedy is sometimes writing his own Republican talking points, which are increasingly pointed at the governor.
He links hurricane recovery efforts and state debt, accusing Blanco of allowing the matters to complicate each other. State debt per capita has grown to $822 for every man, woman and child in Louisiana ' a five-year high, he says.
"We're not prepared for the worst," Kennedy says. "We just keep spending every nickel we have."
As for Blanco's upcoming re-election bid, Kennedy isn't making any predictions.
"You just never know," he says. "A year and a half is a long time in political terms."
Calls to Blanco for comment on this story were not returned by press time.
Despite sweeping changes enacted by Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, the health insurance program for state workers and public school employees will have to use $88 million from its reserve fund to cover its costs this year.
The LPSB races are sure to get heated between now and Nov. 4, and with only 9 available seats, this year's field of 20 candidates will surely be wanting to set themselves apart from the crowd early; they'll get their chance next week, starting Tuesday with the kick-off of a three-day series of candidate forums.
Lawmakers say they've received complaints that waits have spiked, with people being forced to wait in line for more than an hour — and sometimes three hours — to handle routine tasks.
The campaign announced that Rep. Stuart Bishop of District 43 and Nancy Landry, District 31, have thrown their support behind the Naval Academy graduate and entrepreneur in his bid to unseat current Hunter Beasley in District 8.
A Lafayette man with an alleged taste for child porn was busted Thursday evening during a cyber crime sting launched by the Attorney General’s Office.
U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister says his chief of staff is on temporary leave after being booked with drunken driving.
It was a rare moment in Congress this week as Republicans briefly put aside partisanship in support of President Barack Obama's request to train and arm Syrian rebels, and while a number of Democrats opposed the measure, Louisiana's Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu found herself on the same side of the issue as her Republican challenger Rep. Bill Cassidy.
Home Depot breach bigger than Target; Alibaba IPO could be big; Rivers' last project and more national and international news for Friday, September 19, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
City-Parish President Joey Durel is asking the council to sign off on a resolution approving a pair of deals that would lead to razing the seedy Lesspay Motel at Four Corners to build a new police substation as well as transforming nearly a block Downtown where the old federal courthouse building now molders into a mixed-use development.
In 2013, the IRS — already the least popular governmental agency in the country — became the target of intense investigations after it was revealed that they had specifically and improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from organizations associated with the nascent Tea Party movement.
Improving the running game was "a point of emphasis" during the offseason and the results have manifested themselves in the form of substantially greater production.
Louisiana's health department said Wednesday that its evaluation of the state's Medicaid privatization was on target, despite criticism from the legislative auditor that it lacked key data and contained inconsistencies.
The feds converge on your office, seizing records on several employees as part of a pay-for-plea investigation. WWYD? If you’re Mike Harson, you give yourself a $12k raise.
It’s football season and after back-to-back winless weekends for the Saints and the Cajuns many citizens are finding it difficult to be civil much less happy. Well, chew on this.
Considering his repeated stays in the local penal system, David Narcisse Jr. should have known that having a semiautomatic shotgun, even one given to him by a friend, wasn’t the brightest of ideas.
A state district judge on Tuesday threw out a last-minute retirement hike lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent, ending a political firestorm over a pension boost passed without public scrutiny on the last day of the legislative session.
The House has passed a bill to increase oversight of veterans' hospitals under construction, following a report that some medical centers take three years longer to complete than estimated and cost an extra $366 million per project.
An obvious follow-up question for any Republican politician who accuses Democrats of being science deniers is one about science, to which Jindal bobbed and weaved like a welterweight champ.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council is expected to decide tonight (Tuesday) whether to go along with a proposal City-Parish President Joey Durel made in February’s State of the Parish Address and consolidate taxes for mosquito control and the parish health units into a broader tax program that would also cover animal control.
U.S. District Judge Richard Haik has dismissed Greg Davis’ lawsuit against the LPSB, yet in his ruling, the federal judge doesn’t bite his tongue in pointing out the "threat" being posed by certain board members.
Of all the political offices being contested throughout Lafayette Parish, the race for Broussard’s top police post has literally become one of the most heated.
A state district judge is deciding whether to issue an injunction against the enforcement of a last-minute retirement hike that lawmakers gave to the state police superintendent.
A new website is up for Louisiana's state government employees and retirees to choose their health insurance plans for next year, a choice they must make by October.
That fact that New Orleans led both games in the final 10 seconds of regulation, and lost each by a field goal or less, is of little solace.