The Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce is in damage-control mode, evidenced by a letter to the editor and series of articles and editorials published Sunday in The Daily Advertiser in which the chamber both defends the legislative scorecard it released in January while softening its stand on the failing grade handed out to state Sen. Mike Michot.
Chamber leadership emailed the same statement to The Independent on Sunday — the same day the articles and editorials appeared in The Advertiser. Conspicuously absent from that Advertiser coverage were any quotes from Michot, who acknowledged to The Ind last week that he did indeed meet with chamber leadership but declined their offer to make the letter to the editor a joint statement.
State Sen. Mike Michot, R-Lafayette
The senator, in the final furlong of his time in office — he is term limited and will be replaced by an election this fall — is still smarting from the failing grade he was given by the chamber on its scorecard. Our reading is that Michot is more angry than disappointed, as he — like many in the community — believes he has been a steady advocate of Lafayette’s business interests during his 16 years in the Legislature. (Michot’s failing grade stemmed more from his absence at four of the 12 votes on which senators were graded by the chamber — votes Michot says he missed while tending to other important business in his role as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The chamber acknowledges in the letter reprinted below that it is reviewing how absences weigh into grades.) Michot maintains that the grades distributed by the chamber were counterproductive to the longtime goal of knitting a strong coalition of Acadiana lawmakers to work in unison for the business interests in the area.
Here’s the chamber’s letter:
In 2010, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce took a bold step in its long history of representing the interest of business. That step, as recommended by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was the issuance of a voting record of local elected officials. The voting record report is a resource for the Chamber’s newly formed political action committee.
However, the simple idea of reporting on voting records brings with it the inherent risk of appearing to disapprove of a candidate or candidates, or having the report record being interpreted incorrectly. The Chamber, in reporting on voting records, provides numerical scores and not letter scores.
Unfortunately, as in the case of Lafayette Senator Mike Michot, the reported voting record tallied absences from significant votes due to his demanding and important role as Chairman of the Finance Committee. Thus, the unintended consequences were that a proven friend of the chamber and community received a low numerical score, which mischaracterizes Senator Michot’s legislative contribution.
Recognizing that the voting record, which is based on actual votes, did not accurately account for a pro-business philosophy, or an entire body of work, the chamber will modify its initial protocol. The Chamber will continue to communicate its positions on behalf of its members, will continue to monitor lawmakers’ votes, and will continue to hold them accountable.
The goal is to enhance the critical business infrastructure and environment for small and large businesses. That end will be achieved through positive, collaborative spirit by the Chamber, the community at-large and our elected officials on all levels. For at the end of the day, it is not “us” against “them,” but simply and collectively, “US”.
The Chamber leadership met recently with Senator Michot. We will work side-by-side as we face a most challenging 2011 legislative session. With Senator Michot as Chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, and the balance of our talented delegation, Lafayette has an unprecedented opportunity for spectacular progress.
Flo Meadows, chairman of the board Jerry Greig, chairman-elect Rob Guidry, president
To post a comment, please log into your IND account. If you do not have an account, click the "register" button to create one. Facebook comments can be used as an alternative to creating an account at theIND.com.
DEC 12 Until recently, it seemed like NOLA Mayor Mitch Landrieu was going to skate to re-election. But John Maginnis writes in this post that he may face some unexpected opposition, from Michael Bagneris, who currently serves as a civil court judge for the city. The judge isn't saying he's thinking about it, because then he would have to step down, but let's just say Maginnis won't be surprised if Bagneris turns up to qualify for the job.
DEC 12 Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, chair of the Republican Study Committee, has dumped the RSC's director, this post on Politico tells us. The director, Paul Teller, is accused of leaking conversations with lawmakers, the post says, and "actively working against" strategies that committee members had come up with. Hmmmm....
DEC 12 Jeremy Alford gives us the latest on David Duke in this LaPolitics post. Duke is back in the headlines because he was expelled from Italy recently, accused of trying to start a Neo-Nazi group there. Alford's pulled some interesting bits from the recent media coverage and some older pieces as well about this state embarrassment.
DEC 12 So Louisiana has one of the highest rates of HIV infection in the nation, we've known that for a while. But this Picayune story tells us about a new report by Human Rights Watch that says our laws and law enforcement practices are to blame. Those practices impact two routes to infection: unprotected sex and shared needles, the story says.
DEC 12 Jim Brown blogs about a book, "Dumbest Generation," and bemoans our inability to attain a more positive adjective. Jim wants to know: with our constant, unfettered access to information, why aren't we greater? He may be answering the question himself, urging more focus on community service and less on self-enrichment.
DEC 12 Here's an interesting post from DIG Baton Rouge about the proposed City of St. George in Baton Rouge. This piece focuses on the school district the organizers want to create. They're confident they won't need to raise taxes (because, of course, they'll be grabbing huge chunks of tax dollars -- or at least they think so) to build new schools, the story says.
DEC 12 After weeks of "political gimmicks" aimed at trying to force a vote on something most people really don't understand, Sen. David Vitter has decided he will do exactly what Sen. Mary Landrieu already has done for his own Congressional health insurance, the Advocate reports here. Senate leaders offered him a vote, but he didn't want it -- some say because he hadn't milked all the political juice out of this alleged issue yet.
DEC 12 The fact that "amateurs" are running the education system in Louisiana is hurting our children, blogger Mike Deshotels writes in this post. In support of his argument, he goes through the recent vote on Common Core in Baton Rouge, and explains what the data showed. It's not a pretty picture.
Read the Flipping Paper!
Click Here for the Entire Print Version of IND Monthly