The last election held for the 3rd Congressional District back in 2004 was among the hottest in the state, complete with campaign attacks against family members and old arrest records being resurrected. Based on the jabs already being unleashed by the Louisiana Democratic Party, history could repeat itself this year.
Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon will once again face Republican state Sen. Craig Romero of New Iberia, and the state Democratic Party is coming out swinging. Within weeks of Romero's announcement, Louisiana Democrats issued a press release focusing on Romero's fundraising, criticizing him for meeting Vice President Dick Cheney in Alexandria rather than joining lawmakers on a bus tour of hurricane-impacted areas to open the ongoing special session. ' Jeremy Alford
VITTER GOES OP-ED
On the heels of White House hurricane recovery coordinator Donald Powell's disappointing comments in a Feb. 2 op-ed in The Washington Post, Republican Sen. David Vitter fired back with his own op-ed in the Post on Feb. 12. Vitter, usually one of President Bush's biggest supporters, used some of his strongest language to date in criticizing the administration. "Like most in Louisiana, I've been very disappointed by the Bush administration's recent statements about our hurricane recovery," Vitter wrote. "National and Louisiana leaders seem to be talking past each other rather than finding and building on common ground."
"[The president] has to understand that this is not as simple as saying that you can't build in a flood plain (the White House is in a flood plain) or that you can't build below sea level (the country would have to sacrifice a vitally important energy hub and port system)," Vitter also wrote. "Most of all, he has to understand that the great majority of New Orleans' catastrophic flooding occurred because of breaches in levees that were not overtopped by water but that failed from below because of gross design mistakes made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."
Vitter called for bold reforms in New Orleans public schools and the Charity hospital system, and urged state leaders and local leaders to make tough decisions on rebuilding and present a definitive recovery plan. "As difficult a path as this is, I truly believe the people will accept it ' in Louisiana and across the nation," Vitter wrote. "The real question is, will the Louisiana and national politicians?" ' Scott Jordan
THE $12 MILLION CARROT
As lawmakers continue to debate a single levee district for southeast Louisiana, there's a one-sentence mandate from the federal government hanging over their heads. Republican Congressman Bobby Jindal inserted the language into an appropriations bill, basically holding back $12 million from the state for hurricane protection research until a "single state or quasi-state entity" is created to oversee operations.
Terry Ryder, Gov. Kathleen Blanco's executive counsel, told lawmakers the levee consolidation should satisfy the federal mandate, but he was unable to totally discount another entity formed in November ' the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is meant to serve as a hub for coastal restoration, hurricane protection and flood control. While the language is up for debate, Jindal's one-sentence mandate is the golden carrot being dangled over the heads of lawmakers this session. ' JA
ANOTHER ONE FOR SOS
State Rep. Carla Blanchard Dartez says she is "seriously exploring" the possibilities of becoming a candidate in the upcoming election for secretary of state. The post became open last year after longtime Secretary Fox McKeithen died over the summer due to complications from a fall. Since then, potential candidates have been lining up and Dartez, a Morgan City Democrat, is among them.
"I really know I can do a good job, and I know Fox would want me to be there," she says. Dartez also says two of McKeithen's "close friends in Tennessee" have volunteered to help her raise money, declining to elaborate further.
Other possible candidates for the job include state Sen. Jay Dardenne, a Baton Rouge Republican; former state GOP Chair Mike Francis, state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, a Baton Rouge Democrate; and Public Service Commissioner Dale Sittig of Eunice. ' JA
SIGNS FOR LEVEE BOARD APPOINTMENTS
Levee board members in Louisiana are generally recommended by lawmakers, appointed by the governor and ratified by the state Senate. But what it takes to actually get recommended in the first place varies, according to Rep. Danny Martiny, a Metairie Republican. "I've put up my share of people who put up [campaign] signs for me," he confessed during a committee meeting last week. After the laughter died down, Martiny admitted it probably wasn't a shining example of good government, but that's the way it went down. "I'm not saying I'm one of the good guys," he added. ' JA
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.