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?"
Business organizations opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to job losses and higher prices for goods and services.
An attempt to repeal a six-year-old law that permits public school science teachers to use material outside a classroom's adopted textbook has been rejected by the Senate Education Committee.
New York Times poll shows Obama, Jindal have identical approval and disapproval ratings in the state.
OK, so they’re bentgrass, the type used on golf course greens. But grass is grass.
The Senate Finance Committee approved the bill Wednesday, despite opponents who argued it would shut down the storefront lenders.
A measure to allow the state to implement its own, less stringent plan for limiting carbon dioxide emissions unanimously passed the Senate.
FDA to regulate e-cigarettes, Jodie Foster gets married, Vermont to require labels on genetically-modified food, and more news for today, April 24, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
A push to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program as allowed under the federal health care has been overwhelmingly rejected by the Senate health committee.
Louisiana welfare recipients would be prohibited in state law from spending the federal assistance at lingerie shops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and jewelry stores, under a bill that received the support Wednesday of a House committee.
Senators will consider whether to prohibit private businesses in Louisiana from paying unequal wages to employees of different genders for the same job.
Rep. Joel Robideaux has delayed bill hearings and said unless a compromise can be reached, he won't bring up the legislation this session.
Once again, Lafayette Parish School Board President Hunter Beasley is focused on an issue that has nothing to do with the educational well-being of our public school children.
After exhausting his appeals all the way to the state Supreme Court, the owner of the Tiger Truck Stop in Grosse Tete has no legal remedy left save one: do an end run around the high court via a bill that would grandfather his “right” to keep a 550-pound tiger enclosed in a pin at his roadside business.
Louisiana poet Darrell Bourque has won the 2014 Louisiana Writer Award, given annually to recognize outstanding contributions to Louisiana's literary and intellectual life.
Drivers would have to secure dogs riding in truck beds while on interstate highways, if the Senate agrees to a bill backed by the House.
An effort to prohibit employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity was shelved Tuesday for the legislative session.
Louisiana won't lessen its penalties for marijuana possession, keeping laws on the books that allow people to be jailed up to 20 years for repeat offenses of having the drug in hand.
“This is one of the oldest divides that exists, and that divide is about the haves and the have-nots.”
It took a few weeks for the pitfalls to emerge in the governor’s $25 billion budget, but the time of judgment has finally arrived.
With pressure continuing to build for him to resign, Congressman Vance McAllister announced plans recently to remain secluded during the Easter break, but the Swartz Republican has said he’ll be back on the Hill casting votes and attending committee meetings when the congressional recess ends April 28.
A bid to limit the use of unmanned aircraft on private property in Louisiana stalled Monday in the Louisiana Senate.
A Shreveport lawmaker said Monday he's scrapping his proposal to name the Bible as Louisiana's official state book.
Attorney hopes fellow lawyers will join him in urging the D.A. to step aside and allow a competent, ethical challenger to take over the scandal-ridden office.
An official with the Louisiana Department of Education was arrested on a range of charges Friday after allegedly breaking into a home and brandishing a knife.