More heat is being applied to the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce following an endorsement by the chamber’s political action committee of state Rep. Jonathan Perry in the state Senate District 26 election Saturday. Perry, a Republican in his first term in the state House, is facing Democrat Nathan Granger, a businessman and member of the Vermilion Parish Police Jury.
In an email obtained by The Ind, Jody Broussard, a senior vice president at Granger’s business, Quality Companies, gives the chamber the business:
Yesterday, we were notified of Empower PAC’s recommendation to endorse Jonathan Perry over local businessman and one of our principals, Nathan Granger, in the upcoming election for the Louisiana Senate Seat District 26. ...we truly find this endorsement offensive, not only to Quality Companies, but to the Lafayette business community as a whole.
Nathan Granger and Troy Collins founded Quality Construction & Production, LLC in Lafayette in 2001. What began as a very small business with a shoestring budget has blossomed into one of Acadiana’s top 50 privately held companies in both 2009 and 2010, employing nearly 500 Louisiana residents on a regular basis. QCP has also been recognized nationally in magazines such as Entrepreneur and Construction Today for its success and growth. These articles not only shine a bright light on QCP; they also highlight the business environment in Lafayette. QCP has always been active in the community through its numerous charitable works. Based upon the information below pulled straight from the chamber’s website, it would seem that Mr. Nathan Granger lives the creed promoted by the chamber, while the chamber does not!
“At the heart of the local economy and the backbone of the nation’s economy, you’ll find a chamber of commerce. Celebrating and promoting the diversity and uniqueness of their communities, chambers of commerce form the fabric of America.
Chambers are the primary source for businesses and individuals seeking information on the business climate in a community. Representing the vocal point for businesses, chambers often are the catalyst for business opinions and represent business needs in the community. As the collective voice, chambers speak from a much broader economic framework than individual businesses or politicians ever could.
The work of local chambers of commerce is vital to the community’s business life. Chambers provide bottom line programs for businesses large and small. They fight for pro-business legislation and form public and private alliances. With the support of chambers, small businesses open their doors ... prosper ... and grow.”
How can the Chamber claim to help small businesses “open their doors ... prosper ... and grow,” and not support a Lafayette small businessman in an election against an attorney with no connection to Lafayette?
The Empower PAC’s press release outlining its rationale for supporting Perry over Mr. Granger is laughable. It notes Mr. Perry’s 91 percent voting record with the chamber during last year’s legislative session while completely ignoring Mr. Perry’s 70s percentile ratings in the two sessions preceding last year’s. It also points to Perry’s stances on education and regionalism issues, but fails to provide any details regarding those stances. Given that Mr. Granger’s wife is a teacher, and Mr. Granger’s education and experience are primarily in business (Mr. Granger earned an MBA from USL), I truly doubt Mr. Perry’s stances on education and regionalism are more in line with business interests than Nathan’s!
We would like to invite the chamber’s political arm to reconsider its endorsement of Mr. Perry over Nathan Granger. Should the chamber and its political arm continue with its endorsement of Mr. Perry, it will alienate QCP and our family of companies.
We would appreciate your kind response to this correspondence by close of business tomorrow.
Jody Broussard Senior Vice President Quality Companies
MAY 22 This post was written the day after the second line shooting in NOLA, by Brentin Mock. Mock is a friend of Deb "Big Red" Cotton, a blogger who was shot in the back and was seriously injured. It is a raw, emotional piece of writing, something the writer obviously felt he needed to get off his chest. But it raises questions that can't be easily dismissed, and might give some insight into where the source of these events truly is.
MAY 22 In this Baton Rouge Business Report post, Rolfe McCollister considers the privatization of bus service in Baton Rouge. After decades of under-funding, it is a mess, and although a tax (partially) passed last year, improvement hasn't happened yet. McCollister apparently feels it is time to let private business get in on the transit business.
MAY 22 This post on Bayou Buzz by Jeff Crouere urges the defeat of a bill that would grant modest pay increases over the next several years to the state's judges and clerks of court. The state is in no position to fund pay hikes, Crouere argues, with the pay increases costing a total of $9 million over several years. It sends the wrong message to the (proverbial) hard-working people of Louisiana, he says.
MAY 22 The Advocate reports here that State Treasurer John Kennedy is complaining about a meeting of the corporation that oversees the state's tobacco settlement. The Governor wanted it restructured, and he has some support, but not a lot. The corporation agreed with his plan, but Kennedy didn't, and it appears that the meeting was noticed in a manner completely different than that of all previous meetings. Kennedy's given to hyperbole, but in this case the fish don't smell too fresh.
MAY 22 In this Advocate story, Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout says the recent federal indictment of a strip club owner is all wrong. The indictment alleges that drugs and prostitution went on with impunity because club staff made arrangements with "local" police. Stout says it never happened, and while his cops do work security in the parking lot, they're not allowed inside.
MAY 22 This amusing post in DIG Baton Rouge recounts an ad that ran on Craig's List recently; the advertiser was seeking tenants for a Beauregard Town house. He knew his market, and wrote an ad that the most ironical hipster couldn't resist. Apparently, he really did know his market, because the ad worked like a charm.
MAY 22 In this post in The Lens, Mark Moseley comments on the rhetoric Gov. Jindal employed in trying to save his tax "reform" package. One interesting point concerns Jindal's use of his brother, Nikesh, in a little story. Nikesh left Louisiana because of his inability to get a decent job, the story goes, but the story won't hold water: Nikesh lives in DC, which has an income tax level comparable to Louisiana, Moseley says. If income taxes caused the dismal situation, it should exist in DC too. Right?
MAY 22 This post by columnist John Maginnis traces the trajectory of the bill that would fund construction at community and technical colleges -- and bypass the Board of Regents and traditional higher ed funding mechanisms. Sure, it will bust the legislature's self-imposed debt limit, but some leges feel that there's more need (because there is more growth) in the community and technical college area than in the university area, he says.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.