Landry's campaign has put out nearly 20 targeted fliers accusing Hebert of voting to give state legislators, including himself, heath care coverage for life; benefiting from hurricanes Katrina and Rita recovery contracts to the tune of $300,000; working as a "salaried consultant" for an insurance company while serving as chairman of the House Insurance Committee; raising taxes; and squandering his time in the Legislature rather than bringing much needed road improvements to the rural Cajun parishes.
"Troy is the model for why we need ethics reform," Landry says. "Our ethics laws don't require legislators to fully disclose where their income comes from. When it came time to vote to prohibit elected officials from doing hurricane-related contracts, guess what, he didn't even show up for the vote, three times. But yet he stands there, and he tells you he's for ethics."
Hebert claims Landry has taken his record and distorted it in every instance. The taxes he voted for are renewals, not new taxes, he says. He adds that the health care legislation didn't apply to himself. And Landry's characterization of him, Hebert says, as an old school, pocket-lining politician who wants to continue in government for his own personal gain, is downright disgusting.
After Katrina and Rita hit, FEMA and the Corps of Engineers were in charge of the state's cleanup contracts. As a small dirt hauler and builder, Hebert says he was a sub of a sub of a sub. He says, "I disclosed everything even before disclosure was required." He adds that he was advised by the House clerk to abstain from voting on a bill that did represent a conflict of interest for him. "I know the public perception is that something is wrong, and those things do get abused, but I'm comfortable where I've been," Hebert says. "But it is exactly why we need disclosure. How do you think [Landry] found out about what I do? He found it in my disclosure forms."
Hebert says that it's Landry who has failed to disclose his track record of working for state Sen. Romero. "All he's been is a right-hand man for Craig Romero who did whatever Craig's dirty work was. [Landry] certainly didn't have a problem with Craig Romeo working for 12 different oil companies while Craig was the chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. The same thing that he's faulting me for, his boss did it, and we never heard anything from him then."
State Senate records indicate that Landry was employed as an aide by Romero and paid by the state during the 2004 and 2005 sessions. Landry says he spent more time than that working pro bono, learning how the Legislature works. An audit investigating Romero's campaign contributions during his run for Congress in 2004 cites Landry as campaign treasurer during the 2006 race.
Landry says he's not running away from his former boss, although he does say Romero has not endorsed him, nor is the senator helping with the campaign. The candidate says he simply asks to be judged for himself and his actions, not his associations. "I'm not judging Troy Hebert for who he might have worked for. He dated Candy Edwards. Because he dated Candy Edwards, would you say he had a natural affinity to the same things that Edwin Edwards did?" Hebert says he's friends with Candy Edwards but neither confirms nor denies that he dated her.
Hebert says Landry should have quit working for Romero if he didn't agree with what Romero was doing. "Right now he shouldn't be saying any of this because it's hypocritical," Hebert maintains. "You can't be a treasurer for a term-limited politician who's seeking another office and then beat me over the head for seeking another office. He can't have it both ways."
Landry sees himself as part of the ethics movement he hopes will be swept into office on Bobby Jindal's coattails. One of his fliers states, "If you like Bobby Jindal, you'll love Jeff Landry." Jindal and Landry are the same age, and Landry says they share similar philosophies. There is a clear desire on Landry's part to present himself as a fresh face that will bring a new ethos to Baton Rouge. "We have a mutual understanding of the fundamental changes this election will bring to the state. I believe you're finally seeing a generation, regardless of our party affiliation, that is seeking a common goal."
At the same time, Landry says his years as an aide and law clerk have given him the kind of experience it takes to become a good senator. "Troy has 12 years in the House. In the Senate, I do have more experience."
Hebert derides that statement. "What has Jeff Landry done? He's never passed a bill." Hebert says that several freshman faces from the Iberia and St. Martin districts are headed to Baton Rouge, and there should be a member of the delegation with seniority. Even with term limits, over half the Legislature will be returning. "It's kind of like having a baseball team, the last thing you want to do is graduate all your seniors at one time. We need to have somebody over there with some seniority to keep the things going that are in the hopper." Hebert mentions I-49 and deepening the channel of the Port of Iberia as ongoing projects. Ethics is one of his platforms as well ' he says he voted for every ethics bill brought forward and wants to see bills that failed brought back for another try.
Ultimately both candidates come back to pounding on the issues that drive every election ' who can bring home the money and get things done. Hebert references one of Landry's TV spots. "Jeff says he's gonna fix our roads, fix health care, fix education and lower our taxes. How you gonna do all of those? The first three take money. The last one reduces the money you take in. Where's the math? Don't you think the rest of us would have done that a long time ago if we had the answer to that one?"
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.