Citing several sources familiar with Jerry Luke LeBlanc’s plans to go after term-limited state Sen. Mike Michot’s District 23 seat, on Thursday the INDsider reported on the likelihood of a LeBlanc-Page Cortez matchup. Our efforts to reach LeBlanc for that story were unsuccessful. But this morning via email, LeBlanc, who makes $215,000 a year as vice president for administration and finance at UL Lafayette, says he’s decided against making a run.
“I want to thank all of the individuals who encouraged me to consider running for the District 23 Senate seat in the fall elections,” LeBlanc writes. “I have decided that the current timing would not be right for me to seek elective office. Therefore, I will not be a candidate. The university has numerous large projects and initiatives under way with more on the horizon, which will demand my full attention. Again, I thank all of those in the community for expressing confidence in me.”
LeBlanc, an independent, would certainly have had some ground to make up, as District 43 state Rep. Cortez, though he has not made it official, plans to seek the seat this fall. The INDsider first reported Cortez's ambitions for the Senate in February. A Republican in his first term in the House, Cortez has for months been holding fundraisers, like the upcoming April 19 event at Schilling Distributing on Moss Street. An influential group of business leaders and politicians is already on board the "Cortez for Senate" effort. Herb Schilling and Kenny Hix of Shilling Distributing, Dwight Prudhomme of Republic National Distributing, Julie Calzone of Calzone and Associates and Tyron Picard of The Picard Group are hosting the fundraiser, along with co-hosts state Sens. Elbert Guillory, Mike Michot, Fred Mills and Jonathan Perry; state Reps. Joel Robideaux, Bobby Badon, Rickey Hardy, Nancy Landry and Jack Montoucet; and City-Parish President Joey Durel, Carencro Mayor Glenn Brasseaux, Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais, Scott Mayor Purvis Morrison and Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator.
LeBlanc resigned from the Legislature in 2004 to serve as former Gov. Kathleen Blanco’s commissioner of administration. He was a five-term state rep from Lafayette and is the son of a former state representative. He also worked as a real estate appraiser during his time in the Legislature.
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DEC 6 Here we are, at the top of another bad list: this time, Louisiana has the (dubious) honor of beating out all other states when it comes to gutting higher ed funding, this Picayune story reports. The American Association of Colleges and Universities says our cuts (nearly 18 percent this year alone) are the highest in the nation. Three-fourths of the states increased funding last year, with the top spender increasing funding by 28 percent. This is a great legacy for our governor, right?
DEC 6 Blogger Lamar White Jr. takes a look at the creepy effort over in Baton Rouge, wherein the southern, lily-white area of the city wants to secede from the union, er, create its own "city" and take all the really fat sales tax cows with it. Turns out the group campaigning for the move is a for-profit corporation, and Lamar says that means its effort won't pass legal muster.
DEC 6 Blogger Tom Aswell tells us about some fishiness he found in the state worker's comp office. There's some confusion about when one guy started working there, and there's also some involvement by a GOP lege from Hammond. It's all just another example of the Jindal administration's actions that "defy explanation," Aswell says.
DEC 6 Edwin Edwards may think it's possible he will be governor again, but columnist James Gill isn't so sure. Edwards would have to get a presidential pardon to run for governor -- unless he wants to wait until he's 99, Gill says. But even Edwards' many supporters should probably hope he doesn't get that, because there's no real chance he can win, Gill says.
DEC 6 Here's an interesting post on DIG Magazine for football history buffs. It's about the Pelican Bowl, the Bayou Classic and the history of black college football. It's a trip down memory lane and the story of a "mythical black college national crown." What killed it? Trying to compete with the Bayou Classic.
DEC 6 Nelson Mandela became famous while sitting in prison, where he was a symbol of apartheid. But his enduring legacy was his ability to forgive, to reach out a hand of peace to heal his country of division and oppression, and the Picayune talks about this aspect of his personality. The story also reminds us of the more light-hearted moments Louisiana shared with the former President of South Africa.
DEC 6 We've all been passed by a nut on the highway and assumed the driver was on drugs. Maybe that's not hyperbole: here's a story from the Picayune about a guy riding around with a meth lab in his back seat. One wonders if his insurance policy included coverage for random explosions.
DEC 6 Here's a new blog in the NOLA Defender; it's called Shift Change, and it's all about cocktails. This installment by Rhiannon Enlil focuses on the sazerac, the enigmatic cocktail made with absinthe. But Enlil also introduces herself, a long-time NOLA bartender who has "a lot of booze" in her house.
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